July 9, 2008

Automate and Integrate Customer Feedback to Accelerate Your Customer-Centric Strategy

I serve as a member of the Advisory Council for CustomerThink.com.  CustomerThink is a global online community of business leaders who strive to create profitable customer-centric (CRM) business strategies.  The July CustomerThink editorial calendar focuses on the use of technology to power up customer management. In fact, the main focus is on how technology can help accelerate the success of customer-centric strategies. Customer feedback is critical to customer-centric strategies; if the truth be known, often times the feedback is not exactly good news. For example, software companies sometimes receive bug reports and feature requests from their customers. Yes, despite their best effort to ensure quality, a glitch in the software application may occur. And despite best efforts to really listen to their target market, there is always room for improvement, meaning feature requests. Many times customers have to fill out a report form and either fax, mail, or email it to a technical support department where it is then hand-entered into the master bug database. This low-tech procedure provides no support for file attachments (for example - screen shots) and leaves room for communication error. In addition, the customer is not automatically notified that their issue has been added to future projects. For ISV's technology opportunities exist that allow for more effective and efficient beta programs and software releases. This technology allows customers to submit bug reports and feature requests directly into the issue management and defect tracking tool thus eliminating data entry errors and also saving data entry time. Are you likely to find these types of solutions under the normal CRM banner? No; but they are intended to keep your customer-focused strategy on track nevertheless.