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Business and Technology Insights

Stand Out from the Crowd with ICRM

 
November 21, 2017

How does a company meet unfulfilled customer needs and create value beyond its core competencies? A single company cannot have the bandwidth to provide every potential service that its customers may require even if it’s aware of those needs. Here’s where the emerging practice of inter-customer relationship management (ICRM) offers interesting solutions.

Let’s take a couple of business scenarios.

Car dealerships advise you about the car you should buy, and they can offer financing, and cleaning and maintenance services. What if a customer also expects taxation advice on his purchase? With the existing CRM and customer experience management (CXM) tools, the car dealership cannot cater to that requirement. It will, at best make an ad hoc recommendation.

ICRM offers a framework for plugging such gaps between service offering and customer requirements.

A well-established ICRM helps dealership identify new and emerging customer needs, such as the tax advice, from the data it collects from its existing CRM and CXM initiatives. The dealership can use ICRM to connect one customer with other of its customers. This lets the dealership offer additional value and by providing potential new business opportunities to its customers, it will engender loyalty. It’s a neat win-win.

A well-established ICRM helps dealership identify new and emerging customer needs, such as the tax advice, from the data it collects from its existing CRM and CXM initiatives. The dealership can use ICRM to connect one customer with other of its customers. This lets the dealership offer additional value and by providing potential new business opportunities to its customers, it will engender loyalty. It’s a neat win-win.

Consider a second scenario. A strategy consultancy finds out that its venture capitalist (VC) customer has a special liking for vintage jewelry. The consultancy can use ICRM to connect this customer with another customer who is a vintage jewelry seller. Or, it could go one step further and connect the VC customer with one who is a vintage jewelry manufacturer seeking an investor.

A systematic ICRM program will generate such insights and the potential for mutual benefits.

While many businesses have evolved traditional CRM initiatives into digital CRM and CXM, today few have capitalized on the potential to meet ‘unmet’ needs through their existing ecosystems.

It’s time to use your bank of customer data to build peer-to-peer opportunities. Nascent examples exist. Large investment banks and software companies hold conferences where their customers network and create business opportunities. But the onus is on customers to seek each other out and their chances of finding common areas of interest are limited.

As well as pushing up customer satisfaction, you can use ICRM to enhance customer retention. When your customers view other customers as potential business opportunities, they’re incentivized to stick around. Since the cost of acquiring a new customer can be anywhere from five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one, the business case is clear.

With ICRM you can become a revenue generator, and a business partner for your customers. To delve deeper into the potential relevance of ICRM in your current businesses and its multiple benefits, read my article What Comes After CXM? Helping Customers Help Other Customers in the latest edition of our management journal, Perspectives.

Steve Goren is a Consulting Partner in TCS’s Banking and Financial Services practice and an Information Management Professional with extensive experience developing Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence, Data Integration, Data Quality, and Analytics Solutions. He is a Customer Experience Specialist with deep experience in customer data profiling and customer data analytics. He has a proven history of building teams, delivering systems and developing long-lasting internal and external client relationships. Steve's specialties include: Wide ranging experience in the areas of Project and Delivery Management, Marketing Information Systems, Corporate and Consumer House-holding, and Decision Support Systems in numerous industries.