What is CRM?
CUSTOMER Relationship Management, sure. It means you care about the way you manage relationships with your customers and consequently decide to invest in these relationships. If you’re a brand, it could also imply that you decide and define in advance what this relationship will be. You create guidelines, journeys etc.
Great but top-down, right?
As a Brand, you decide.
Hopefully, what you provide will meet your customers’ needs.
Are customers still willing to enter a relationship that a brand has already predefined for them, within a CRM program? It’s hard to say, especially if the brand is not one of their favorites (those they are genuinely expecting something from).
Now, imagine if this relationship were the other way around. It’s not the Brand deciding what the relationship will be like, but the customer. Imagine a completely ‘on demand’ relationship with your customers. They get what they want, they are helped and supported as needed, and they decide when and where. Everything has been prepared for them, but they choose according to their preferences… This sounds like good client services, doesn't it ?
But CRM programs are not designed this way yet.
It’s probably time to enter the era of BRAND Relationship Management. What does this mean? Nothing revolutionary, but a new inspiring state of mind. Giving people the means to invent for themselves the kind of relationship they want to have with brands - not the other way around.
In other words, BRM is more of a SEO driven approach than a top-down one. If you’re SEO driven, you’re obsessed with providing answers to people’s questions and needs and not only with your own “editorial line”. Quite a change for many CRM programs.
With this new perspective, clients can choose where they want the relationship to take place: communication channels are in their hands. Email is an option but they might also prefer to be texted or communicated with via WhatsApp or Messenger for instance. And no choice is ever a final one. Sometimes you call your friends, but sometimes you feel more like texting or emailing them, right? Brand relationships should have the same agility.
As a consequence, the rhythm also becomes theirs. It doesn’t mean the Brand should never push a campaign, of course, but most of the time, clients should be the only ones deciding when they want to be informed / contacted.
BRM is also a question of content. Customers’ areas of interest can change over time and they should have the opportunity to choose what they want the Brand to focus on. This requires much more available content, obviously.
In the end, you can see BRM as the Flipboard of Relation Management: Customers create their own dashboards, perfectly matching their needs and expectations.
Welcome to the exciting (and challenging) era of BRM.