SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

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If a Provider doesn't have a CRM culture, this Customer is NfL (Not for Long)

About three weeks ago, we purchased a double-oven and dishwasher from the same nationally known retailer.  Even as we sat in the store and the very affable salesperson was getting our information down, things didn't seem quite right.  It took what seemed to be at least two hours to get out the door after we had chosen these appliances.  The store manager came by to thank us for our business which was nice, but noticing how much time had gone by, I made a point of it to tell the manager that we liked our salesperson but couldn't figure out why the systems were so slow.  He said that they've been complaining about them for "a long time" and that he hopes "corporate makes some changes soon".  At this point, I guess we became "misery loves company" partners. I started to remember all of the national television ads I had seen from this company and wondered why some of that money couldn't have been spent to help service their current customers.

After a few weeks, the appliances come but there is a problem with the top door of the double-oven.  Here's what happened next.  Every time someone came out or we spoke to our salesperson or service person, they never knew what the other person had promised or done.  We still have a door that needs to be replaced and we received a call this week saying they were going to order the new door.  Amazingly, this is exactly what a service person told us weeks ago.

There is no excuse for this.  It's 2010.  I expect you to have a CRM solution that ties into your billing system and your people are trained to share information that helps customers.  It's a requirement to be a loyal customer as far as I am concerned.  It's highly unlikely we will ever do business with this retailer again not because of the people we met, but because somebody at their corproate office doesn't appreciate how the performance bar has moved.  They have forced us into becoming NfL (Not for Long) or one time customers. 

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More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps

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