Thursday, May 3, 2007

CRM: Customer Repulsion Management

Let us abuse you in order to serve you better.

Long gone are the days when you walk into a shop, pick up an item, pay for it and leave. Not without giving a full biography with full name, email address, telephone number, address, country of residence, hobbies, and the occasional tick box of ‘would you like to receive information about us or from carefully selected third parties’ – all of this is followed by a confirmation email that includes a link which you have to click on to verify.

How many times did you have to fill forms to register, sign-up, or subscribe for things on the internet in the past six months? And how many different usernames, passwords and PIN codes do you currently have?

CRM or what was known as Customer Relationship Management was intended to enable better individual customer management and personalization. In order to jump on the bandwagon all companies started to collect data and ensure that all customers submit all their bio details before getting what they want. Most of these companies only use this data to send you a generic mass produced letter merely mentioning your name after ‘dear’ on the top, and of course with a scanned signature of the senior customer relations director. Not only that most companies are now providing loyalty cards that you need to carry on you all the time just in case you pass next to their store and want to buy something (as if our wallets are not big enough already).

Some companies are now trying to play smart, and fool the customer by showing a simple sign-up form on the page and only after you fill that and give you a few more detailed forms.

Why not have one large database that all companies tap into through their back end system and all you have is one username and password to identify you? If all websites on the internet can interact with each other why do we have to interact with everything separately?

Google, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft… please do something.


Anonymous said...

Why does that thought seem a lot more worrying to me than comforting?
Of course the only way a company can access your info through that kind of central database system is with your permission right? ...still... to imagine all my info in one location is like I put all my eggs in one basket. A random scattering of my info to individual companies and websites just feels more anonymous and private.
But nothing much is private anymore anyway... everything, and everyone can be traced, researched and tracked down if you have the right access. So I guess this is just me being paranoid.

fk said...

Hi anonymous,
I dont think you're paranoid, I beleive that everyone should be at least with the amount of junk email every site sends you. But having a central database in control of your info is much more comforting than knowing that your info is with every tom dick and harry online each of which can pass it araound to whome they choose - at least you can have a site that manages all your info, a centralised database that is responsible, and most conveniently one username and password for everything.
Yes any company requesting your info needs your approval, not only a single approval to access all your info, but approval to access specific fields i.e. firtsname and email only.

Anonymous said...

Help me get my head around this...ur suggesting that a singular 3rd party have access to all my details and they then supply it to businesses?

fk said...

Actually yes (a trusted well established third party), but they only supply it to businesses when they have your approval. This way the single third party would allow you to enter your information one time only and at the same time manage and keep track of all your online subscriptions etc.
Typically terms and conditions will have to be very strict in terms of confidentiality.

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