Wednesday, April 17, 2002
This book is thorough, clear and filled with useful information. It's organized in two parts. Part 1 defines CRM in chapter 1 and in the next six chapters covers the reasons and issues for implementing CRM from five perspectives: (1) Marketing, (2) Customer Service/Call Centers, (3) Sales Force Automation, (4) E-business and (5) Data Analysis. The case studies, all based on real clients and situations, add life to the well written chapters on marketing, customer service and sales force automation. In addition each chapter contains nuggets of insight, clear discussion of the topic and numerous checklists and tables that you can use for your own projects.
Part 2 covers delivering CRM and is structured in the logical sequence of planning, tool selection and CRM project management. Like the first part of the book the four chapters in Part 2 contain case studies, checklists and excellent advice. It is in this part of the book where you'll benefit from Jill's experience because she reveals common traps and pitfalls, and gives advice on how to deal with them or bypass them altogether.
What I like about this book is that it covers the business and technical parameters, requirements and issues. Jill's writing style makes it not only readable, but engrossing as well. She goes into considerable detail about how and why CRM is important to meeting business requirements and gives business metrics, explains differences between CRM and business intelligence, and the pro's and con's of all issues and factors. Because she covers the subject from the five perspectives I listed above this book is valuable to all possible stakeholders in a CRM project. I especially liked her use of the Porter value chain and how she leads you through the development of a business case for CRM.
If you're involved in CRM, or are in a company that is implementing ISO9001:2000 (which requires that organizations have an effective method of measuring customer satisfaction to achieve ISO certification), then this book will be your most valuable source of information.
The Dark Side of CRM. It's ironic that after finishing Jill's The CRM Handbook that the next book I pick up is World Without Secrets. This book is chilling for a number of reasons, but the top ones (in my opinion) are:
- As an IT professional I am involved in CRM (customer relationship management), which has a goal of knowing your customer and providing individualized service. This requires knowing your customers and collecting data. After reading this book I had to step back and think about the impact on privacy and customer rights. This is a Catch-22 situation wherein providing high levels of service requires a great deal of data, but the same data eats away at privacy.
- The array of technologies to gather information, including those that have migrated from the intelligence community into business and/or law enforcement, further chip away at privacy. This is exacerbated by laws passed and national attitudes since September 11. Privacy and freedoms are interrelated, so these technologies, combined with laws and attitudes pose a threat to our freedom as well.
- Attitudes, business imperatives and social evolution are merging to change the entire social fabric of our way of life - and we are active participants in some aspects, and in other aspects we are facilitating this change. The ways we are doing that is through willingness to accept changes that are detrimental to privacy, and/or the pursuit of meeting business imperatives and competitive advantage without fully examining the long term ramifications.
However, the real eye-opener is the way that virtual communities are coming together in ways that could not have been predicted ten years ago. The Internet has enabled people of like interests, both benevolent and malevolent, to find one another on this planet, band together and begin exerting influence. In the same manner that maps drawn with political borders do not display cultural borders, these groups called "Network Armies" in the book go beyond cultural or national interests and are changing our social fabric in ways that the author only touches upon.
This book is well written, filled with examples and facts, and arrives at thought-provoking conclusions. It does not matter if you work in IT or another technology-focused industry, law, business or non-profit organizations, what this book has to say and the facts and conclusions that are presented are important. If the author is correct (and I think he is), our lives are changing in dramatic ways and this book is a rough roadmap to where we're headed.
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