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CRM Comes To Life: A Middlin’ Story

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by Tim Moran
Editor In Chief
CMO.com

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Article Highlights:

  • CRM can offer some insight into how your customers would like to be treated.
  • There are many opportunities for companies in all different industries to take the lead on keeping their customers happy.

As a customer, do you ever think about how you are treated by the enterprises you do business with? Does customer relationship management (CRM) ever cross your mind in your role as consumer and not as marketing executive? Perhaps it should because it might offer some insight into how your customers would like to be treated.

What brought this to mind was an email I recently received from Delta Air Lines. The back-story: I am a Delta Gold Medallion flyer, and, as such, I almost always get a far-forward aisle seat, as is in my profile. This week, however, I had to book a rather last-minute trip to Salt Lake City, and the only seat I could get was a middle seat in an exit row. I wasn’t thrilled, but at least I had some extra leg room because it was an exit row. I really didn’t give it another thought—I booked late and took what I was able to get.

A day later, I received an email from Delta with this subject line: “Caught In The Middle.” The body of the note began thus: “Mondays are tough, and we're sorry yours may have been less comfortable when you ended up stuck in the middle seat.” Really! How nice of you to notice, Delta, but it really wasn’t all that bad. It went on: “To thank you for your flexibility and understanding, we've credited 500 miles to your SkyMiles account. . . . So thanks again. Next time, we hope to see you in First.”

I was shocked—in a good way. Delta’s CRM was such that it noted something I wasn’t even aware of and made it up to me, in a thoughtful and unexpected fashion. I have been a frequent Delta flyer for quite a few years now, and I have had very little to complain about. It is a fine airline. But doing something like this, going above and beyond to keep me happy as a customer, has made me a Delta fan of the first(class) order.

There are probably many opportunities for companies in all different industries to take the lead on keeping their customers happy in ways that the customer might not have even thought of. CRM is now, to me, not just a conceptual system, but a really smart way to do business.

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