This week I was looking at a CRM model with the customer at the center surrounded be a effecient and effective combination of tools and services. The goal was to make the customer experience smooth, easy and seamless. There is nothing really wrong with that vision (and in fact it strives for perfection of experience) and yet, I'm not sure it will get to customer loyalty. It asked nothing of the customer and made it as easy as possible for them. There was no shared value creation. The link between the provider and consumer was purely transactional and, therefore, weak.
When I think of loyalty, I think of the following:
- Green Bay Packers fans
- The Marines
- Alumni groups
- Developer communities
Last week, my toddler had on a t-shirt from my husband's prep school. She goes to the faculty daycare at that same school and yet very few of the faculty kids ever have on school gear. Arguably it would make more sense for those children, whose parents' livlihoods are dependent on the school, to exhibit more school spirit than my daughter whose family poured a lot of money and effort into the institution. Yet loyalty doesn't work that way. Loyalty is driven by shared experiences and contributions that are recognized and valued.
In your CRM model, if you do not allow for your customers to also make meaningful contributions to the value chain you will have a hard time generating loyalty. Effort, investment and sacrifice drive loyalty - not ease of use. If you provide the perfect solution there is no room for your customer's voice and needs and no reason for them to contribute.
What, other than money, are you asking your customers to contribute to your value chain?