The Value of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management is the blend of art and science behind generating value from your customer base. It primarily involves understanding and maintaining relationships with your existing customers, focusing your efforts on serving the subgroup that is generating the highest value for your business. Secondarily, it also includes ways to reach out to potential customers, who could be developed into revenue-generating customers as part of a long-term customer strategy. There are many factors involved, and there are a variety of methods that marketers use to group their customer base according to the value they provide the business.

Below are some good examples of customer relationship management in the form of building online communities that I’ve come across lately:

Existing Customers

Example 1: Salesforce Success Community
Salesforce has created a thriving online community of members who post questions, suggestions and ideas, which connects them to Salesforce employees to seek help with their issues, and with Salesforce members, to share Salesforce knowledge with each other.

Value for the Salesforce consumer:

  • Facilitate conversations between customers
  • Generates feedback from customers for Salesforce’s learning, as well as to communicate successes to potential customers

Existing and Potential Customers

Example 1: Citi Women
Citibank has created a forum for women to support each other by sharing workplace issues and discussing solutions. It also functions as an inspirational outlet for women to help motivate them toward their goals– be it a career or personal goal.

Value for the Citibank potential customer:

  • Provides a forum for women on Linkedin to exchange ideas and offer support to one another
  • Connect women with each other so they can create a digital network
  • The reason for their connection is not their commonality as a Citi customer

Example 2: American Express Open Forum
Similar to Salesforce and Citibank, AmEx created a platform for members and potential customers, especially small- to mid-size business owners, to learn and share knowledge about running a business with each other. This platform resides on the AmEx website, and is also powered by LinkedIn.

Value for the AmEX existing or potential customer:

  • Wisdom from experienced business owners that is passed on to business owners seeking a solution to an issue
  • A support network for those who are in the often tumultuous ride of entrepreneurship

Example 3: Chobani Community
Through storytelling along with beautiful and casual imagery, Chobani is engaging the community of advocates and potential customers to pay attention to everyday goodness and choose healthier snacks.

Value for the Chobani existing or potential customer:

  • Organic engagement from advocates of Chobani, creating a trusted community
  • A compelling content platform for potential customers of Chobani (ie people who are searching for product reviews, etc)
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