Many business leaders recognize that the keys to competitive advantage and profitability lie in customer relationships and customer retention. However, with uncertainty and lack of clarity about how customer relationships work, most have not been able to take full advantage of this insight. A critical relationship metric has been missing, as well as an actionable framework to give executives the strategy and the tools to use it.
Without a unifying relationship metric and unifying framework, there are three major management challenges in the way of the customer focus so many executives want:
- Customers are invisible.
- Executives are isolated.
- Operational control in sales and marketing is incomplete and disjointed.
The challenges have many symptoms. Thought leaders have been pointing out many of them for years. Attempts to solving the symptoms individually often are complex, too complex to be practical or affordable. What hasnt happened until now is looking at the symptoms as a whole and at the bigger picture creating the symptoms. Now Linda Sharp has done so brilliantly in Customer Relationship Intelligence. Her insight has led to a solution that is more comprehensive, simple, and elegant: Relationship Value and the CRI Framework.
Customer Relationship Intelligence delivers:
- a more comprehensive framework that includes customer service and other customer-facing functions in the same context as sales and marketing
- a new, heretofore missing, metric that measures relationships with customers as they grow
- a more complete structure for strategy and planning that incorporates the executive perspective in a way that can be executed in day-to-day operations
- an integrated structure for applying plans directly to day-to-day operations, and feeding back results in real time to verify progress towards planned goals
- an analytical structure for feedback and continuous improvement to take sales and marketing to a new operational level and breakthrough performance
For more on the challenges and the solution, see Chapter One.