Real Customer Relationship Management

Yesterday at exactly 5:59 PM I received an email from the car dealer where I bought my car before the current one. I bought it probably 6-7 years ago and traded it in 1.5 years ago for a different car at a different dealer. The email was from a person I don’t know there complete with their picture letting me know that they were thinking about me on my birthday (today) and were wanting me to have a fantastic birthday complete with an exclamation point.

Two minutes later, I received an email from the dealer of my current car saying they were thinking of me and they were hoping my birthday would be amazing. This was from someone I didn’t know either.

Two minutes later, and four minutes after the first message, I got an email from the dealer where we bought my wife’s car 4 years ago, wishing me a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Emails at 5:59 PM, 6:01 PM and 6:03 PM.

I’m really touched that these people were having coffee at the end of the day and looking through the list of their prior customers and thought they’d drop me a note wishing me a happy birthday.

What are the odds that these three separate car dealers owned by different auto groups happened to be thinking about me all at the same time and wanted to drop me a note wishing me a happy birthday?

Organizations try to automate parts of their customer relationship management and more times than not they fail completely. I’d rather get nothing about my birthday than get an automated message trying to look personal. But I do think less of them when they have automated the whole process to a 3rd party and at an appointed time a cron job runs and I get fake personal email from them.


We wanted to wish you a
from all of us here at XXX
Hope you have a great one and
Drive safe!

CRM and Big Data Fail

We keep hearing how Big Data is, or has, arrived. And we constantly hear about the importance of customer relationship management and CRM systems in particular and how they are transforming the relationship management process. This past week, I flew to Seattle to attend a very good IT conference and on the way up, I knew I was going to fly through my millionth mile on UAL. I was just a few thousand miles short and I knew it was happening on the leg from Denver to Seattle.

I wondered if, or how, or might UAL recognize the milestone? I wondered if they might approach you while on the flight and say,  “congratulations Mr. Brewer as this is your millionth mile flying with us. We are delighted to have you as a loyal customer.” Or perhaps when I landed there would be delightful little email from the Big Data engine at United recognizing that I just completed this milestone.

Well, nothing happened. I’ve still not heard a word.

I looked on-line to see my current status and here it is:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 8.48.10 AM

This is not rocket science and yet here is a fail example. Instead of creating a delightful experience, nothing has happened and an opportunity is lost. How trivial would it be to have the computer system send me an email automatically without a single person involved? A simple email notice after the key leg was completed? Or how about tying together my social media presence and send me a DM or a tweet saying something?  Or how amazing would it have been to have the flight attendant stop by and say something?

No offense intended to UAL as this happens everywhere and I’m sure United will send a note to me sometime.  Well, those are the kinds of things still to be done. Each company, organization, industry has their opportunities.

If you’ve had an amazing experience(a win) along these lines, I’d love to hear about it.

PS. I posted this at 16:21 today and around 17:45 @united followed me on Twitter and then about 17:52 @united sent the following:

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 6.08.35 PM

So clearly UAL’s social media team is on the ball. Kudos to them for watching and then responding. Well done.