I have been involved with customer relationship management in one form or anothe for more than 20 years. My journey started when I was analyzing customer profitability (and building customer profitability systems) for large banks when I was at First Manhattan Consulting Group and continued into my days with software provider Treasury Services (TSC). At a TSC customer event in 1997, I even met Martha Rogers when we hired her as a speaker while she was beginning to ride the wave of 1-to-1 Marketing with Don Peppers. When Treasury Services was acquired by Oracle, I moved into a product strategy role within Oracle’s CRM Development group and focused on marketing automation and analytical CRM. Since then, I have spent significant time launching and managing communities, and getting immersed in social media. For me, this completes the circle – which makes sense because true customer relationship management has to encompass both community and social media (or social networking).
While thinking about my early days in CRM, I began wondering about the terms that have been used to describe the phenomena of managing customer relationships. For fun, I looked at the Google Search Timelines to get a rough idea of how various terms are growing (or fading) in popularity. The terms I searched on included ‘traditional’ terms such as CRM, customer relationship management and 1-to-1 marketing, and the more ‘contemporary’ terms of customer experience management, social CRM, voice of the customer and CRM 2.0.
CRM and Customer Relationship Management returned the largest number of results but they along with 1 to 1 marketing are declining in volume and relevance. On the contemporary side, both customer experience management and social CRM are on the rise (especially in the last year or two) while voice of the customer and CRM 2.0 seem to have peaked quickly and are in decline already.
Personally, I think customer experience management is the right term that should be used by the industry as companies need to ensure that their customers have the best experience wherever and however they choose to interact — but I can also see the merits of using social CRM as a complementary term too.
Below are screenshots of my Google Timeline Searches:
While that was a fun exercise, the bottom line is that customers rule now more than ever and that it is now much easier for customers to ‘demand’ a better experience because they know that they will be heard (at least by smart companies who value providing a great customer experience).
In fact, there was an interesting survey that I “bumped” into while I was on Slideshare today. A copy of the RightNow-commissioned survey insights are included in the Slideshare presentation below or you can find the entire report on the RightNow website. The insights are not surprising – customers expect great service, they will share good and bad experiences with their friends and with people they don’t know, and they will pay more for great customer experiences.