For Best Results, Balance CRM and CJM
by Jim Sinur
Customer relationship management (CRM) and customer journey mapping (CJM) have very different goals that determine their application. The problem, however, is that there is built-in goal conflict since CRM is an inside-out view that optimizes organizational goals and CJM is an outside-in view that optimizes customer goals.
Often, customer service representatives are saddled with reconciling these differences through empathic listening and helping customers work around the landmines in web experiences, processes, and systems. This explains why customer satisfaction numbers are still not great. The effect is multiplied by the fact that customers don’t really tell their side of the story on standard surveys designed by the organizations. Customers just move on with their lives or worse yet, to another organization.
CRM Is an Inside-Out Approach
While CRM can significantly help cut costs for organizations by providing pre-built transactions and pre-structured data sources, these data sources can be leveraged for all kinds of opportunities with captured customer or prospect data. Typically, these systems provide marketing integration, Salesforce automation, field service management, or call center automation.
The goals of CRM include optimizing standard experiences through organizational goals and outcomes that generally revolve around profitability, including revenue lift and cost cutting. CRM claims to help customers by leveraging personal data, thereby simplifying servicing events. However, the reality is that the data is used by organizations for up-selling or cross-selling opportunities. CRM is often used to manage sales professionals as well as service representatives. The typical gripe about CRM is that it requires too much data entry that is usually delegated to the customer or sales professional.
With the advent of natural language processing (NLP) and digital assistants, relief may be on the horizon. In CRM, customers often report feeling challenged by determining necessary transactions to achieve goals while traversing an organization’s skill or functional silos.
CJM Is an Outside-In Approach
Customer journey mapping and management really helps increase customer loyalty and organizational reputation, which begets more revenue in the longer term. When applied correctly (by using measurements to understand the current situation and models for potential new approaches), CJM can add key experiences at the touchpoints between an organization and a customer to maintain customer satisfaction.
CJM will play a growing role as organizations move from product differentiation to service-enhanced differentiation to positive experiences that attract repeat customers. This approach puts your organization properly on the customer’s journey instead of forcing the customer’s journey on your organization’s fixed and often, unfriendly transactions.
Obviously, organizations can make these transactions easier to deal with by changing the interfaces, but starting from the customer and better aligning new and old processes is a better approach. Preserving the customer’s goals while leveraging efficiently purchased or designed transactions is the trick. Again, NLP and digital assistants will help, but a customer’s journey often involves multiple transactions and desired outcomes.
Striking a balance between CRM and CJM is key for organizations. This balance is delicate and changing, so organizations will need to be sharp to identify personas and develop reasonable individual customizations within economic reasons. CRM is great at providing data about the current journey and CJM is great at designing new alternatives that will be measured once implemented. This is an iterative interaction that is often phased in over time.