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CRM: a worm turns

Posted on: Friday 19th of March 2010

I’ve nicked the following extracts from a report by Neil Davey at

Of course we’ve been saying this sort of stuff for years. But it’s good that people like Gartner are finally getting round to recognising it: it shows which way the wind is blowing.

“Kicking off the London Summit, Gartner VP Steve Prentice painted a daunting portrait of the sector, describing how issues relating to data, reputation, trust and customer empowerment are all undermining CRM efforts. In short, customer relationship management’s days may be numbered, he said, as a new age of ‘customer managed relationships’ begins.

“Among the points reported are:

· People have more choice than ever – “Drucker said that when we look back in 200 years, what we will see with the benefit of hindsight is not the sweeping changes in technology, but the fact that people had more choice than ever before and chose to execute those choices. It is that power – to choose my world, my way – that is at the root of the problem for CRM.”

· Your online reputation is in the hands of the “collective” – “Online reputation is incredibly important but you cannot control your online reputation because it is controlled by the “collective” – all the groups and communities, the YouTubes, the Facebooks, the Twitters. And it has a big impact on what people think… You cannot control the collective.”

· People don’t trust large enterprises any more – “Trust is a long-term problem. The story of the financial crisis was not the collapse of the economy, the real story was the collapse in trust. In the US, Edelman recorded the largest single drop in trust between individuals and enterprises that they have ever seen.

· Social computing – the “consumerisation” of IT has meant that computers are no longer the preserve of governments and large organisations. And the big story now is the way that we use those devices. “This is not about devices. This is about relationships. This is about the way people communicate and talk – and they are talking about you and your products. This has changed the balance of power.”

“Prentice emphasised that businesses must now get used to the fact that they are no longer in control – the individual is.

“Organisations used to think they were in control of products and services and the way they were priced and the communications channels and channel strategy was under your control – get over it. You are no longer in control.

“Individuals are in control. Individuals are making the choices. That means that the push economy that we have built our businesses around – that we can push products out to consumers – is now changing towards a pull. People go out and decide what it is they want to buy, they then approach the suppliers and say are you willing to supply it on my terms. That is a complete reversal. The idea of customer relationship management that we grew up with has changed. It is no longer about customer relationship management, it is much more about customer managed relationships.”