Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Customers Really Matter or do they?

What is it about customer relationship marketing that turns people off?

If you invited a load of people to a conference on social networking the room would be packed with delegates expecting pearls of wisdom from twentysomething year olds.

Conversely, if you decide to host a CRM event you attract some really articulate top level speakers ready to impart valuable case studies on consumer retention but delegates are likely to be thin on the ground.

And, so it was at the Travel Technology Initiative's spring conference earlier this week.

The room was fortunate enough to hear from Virgin Holidays general manager of CRM Helen Litvak on customer segmentation; Avis' Xavier Vallee on the blog and Peter Matthews from Nucleus on online techniques to foster loyalty (more on all that later).

CRM might not be perceived as sexy but there's a lot of people out there in travel talking about it behind closed doors at the moment. It goes hand in hand with customisation and personalisation which are both being hotly tipped to be the next big development in online travel.

Maybe it's just those words and we should simply call it something else - 'look after your customers or you'll go out of business', - not very catchy!

How about Customers Really Matter? Anyone got any better suggestions?

Linda Fox, lead reporter, Travolution


Alex said...

I was meant to be at this conference yesterday..... but didn't go at the last minute

Why? Well I am behind on customer work... and customers really matter.

The key point about CRM that even entrants to last weeks Travolution CRM award didn't get is that CRM is not just about email campaigns.

CRM != Email

Daniele Beccari said...

One other way to see lack of interest in CRM is that it's a 10 years old topic and for all those who got the message, there is nothing much new under the sun.

CRM fundamentals such as customer life cycle, integrated touch points, or self-service service are now embedded in almost all platforms.

It is true, however, that some travel companies seem to think that "online" (all automated, no touch processes) means forgetting about the customer.