Why bad CRM can cost you money

Steven | management,Random Thoughts | Monday, 15 February 2010 - 10:37

Bad as in: bad implementation, lack of, ..

Just a little rant :-)

In my mailbox, an invoice from Luminus (beware, you’re uber modern browser might not support this state of the art website .. I thought we left these days behind us), a utility company delivering gas and electricity in Belgium. We use them for gas.

With my invoice I got a flyer (glossy, color, 2 sided) explaining me the benefits of a day/night regime. To use these benefits, you need a meter with a double function. My first reaction was: what, they know I have this! Second thought: damn, I’m not buying electricity from them .. these meters are only for electricity.

Bad CRM, and a costly affair. Here’s why.

  • They know who to send this to. If they know how to invoice me, they know what products I use. In this case, send it only to electricity clients without the day/night regime. Sure, most people won’t even pay attention to it, but if that’s your excuse, you’ll never gonna win “marketeer of the year” do yo?
  • Printing these flyers cost money. Why print flyers for people who can’t do anything with it? It’s not like a street action where you don’t know who’s receiving . You KNOW the person at the other end of the letter, at least you should know. Is your excuse it’s more costly to target the messages than to just send everybody the same shit? Update your systems, you’re falling behind! I don’t want to be a client of an outdated utility company. What’s next, no gas? Is your excuse to use this as an awareness campaign? Wrong message! I know you’re delivering electricity as well. The fact that we only consume gas should’ve rang a bell: we did our homework.
  • What’s happening next is confusion. I was confused, but I sorted it out. What about all these other people who aren’t well informed. They might have the double meter, but with your flyer, they started doubting: do I actually have it? I thought I had? Am I paying way too much the last couple of years? .. These people are at best confused for a moment (good customer experience eh?), at worst they start calling (or blog/twitter/facebook/.. about it). I can imagine call center hosts aren’t free as well?

I know this isn’t a big deal, and like I said, most people toss it away anyway, but I keep on being disappointing when I see stuff like this.

The good news is: this can be turned around. Good CRM can save you money, let alone make you a lot of it.

One quick example, when we moved, we obviously failed in notifying everyone to update our address. One of the companies we forgot was Delhaize, a supermarket (my favorite one). How did I found out? Well, suddenly, there was a highly personal message added to my ticket, saying something like: Mister Verbruggen, we noticed the folders we’re sending you are rejected every time. Is there any chance you might have moved? If so, you can easily change your address by doing bla bla ..

Wow! This is the kind of integration I like. From a bouncing folder to a central database and integrated in the register! Please don’t tell me you don’t know if I’m a gas or electricity client, because Delhaize just set the standard. This is what I expect, and everything else will be considered as a failure.

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