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    CRM in Real World Interactions

    Posted by Luis Serpa on December 20, 2006 - 8:45 AM

    In my last post (“Welcome Back! Long Time, No See“), I commented on how face-to face interactions are being affected by the reliance on technology, subsequently missing real customer relationship development opportunities. After posting it, I realized that it wasn’t very fair. Technology and CRM tools can be useful for improving the Customer Experience in real world situations with creative implementation. So I decided to devote a few brain cells towards imagining some scenarios that could be implemented with today’s tools and technology.  Here is what I came up.

    Grocery Stores:

    GroceriesAfter a busy day at the office, Beth (our imaginary customer) is driving home when she decides to stop by the store for some groceries.

    On entering the store, she goes directly to the first available Customer Service Kiosk and, having forgotten her “Preferred Client” card, uses her index finger to log in. The system shows Beth her current shopping list with her son’s wish list, added earlier at home over the Internet. The system offers Beth some interesting new products fitted to her needs and a list of personalized coupons. She then prints out her shopping list and coupons, sorted by the store’s aisle layout so she won’t have to backtrack.

    As she shops, a chip embedded in Beth’s cart stores her information and a wireless device indicates her location in the store.

    Beth is speeding through her list until she notices that one item is out of stock. Of course, the list shows several recommended substitutions for the missing item, but Beth is not sure which to choose.  She decides to ask for help and presses a Customer Help button on her shopping cart. A nearby attendant, alerted by an automated text message on his two-way radio, approaches her.

    “Good evening, Ms. Johnson, It is good to have you back!” says the attendant.
    “Are you by any chance wondering about a substitution?”

    “Oh yes, thank you!  I was looking for a dandruff shampoo for my husband, but his favorite brand is out of stock,” she tells him.

    “Not a problem!” He swiftly picks up his hand computer and downloads her list and shopping history. “We have several other good brands, but I see here that your husband bought ACME shampoo the last time he was here. Was he happy with that purchase?”

    “Yes, I think he said he still preferred the other one, but this brand was ok,” she says.

    “If you like, I can get one for you. If not, I personally think this other brand here is very good. It’s a little more expensive, but it is more effective,” he adds.

    “Oh, thanks! I will try that one,” Beth decides.

    Satisfied with her choice, Beth walks towards the checkout and a small display on her cart indicates which cashier has the shortest line. At the checkout, the smiling cashier greets her with a “Hi Ms. Johnson, did you find everything you needed?” while quickly scanning her purchases. As the cashier thanks her, she adds, “Did you know that you can call us ahead of time and have your whole list ready for you by the time you arrive?”

    She didn’t know that, but she is already considering doing that the next time she shops.

    . . .

    Forget all the Sci-Fi movies’ wildest predictions (although Minority Report has an interesting take on possible future customer experiences), the example here is imagined, but quite feasible with today’s technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is already doing something like it already. 

    Are you? 

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