If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I define myself as a digital humanist. I am fascinated by the potential for technology to connect humans and improve how they live and work. So it should come as no surprise that as technologies like Salesforce advance, and companies like mine find new and innovative ways to incorporate big data and artificial intelligence into the systems we build, I become more excited by the implications this technology has for human interaction.
Take a CRM system that provides customized, personalized experiences. It offers a 360-degree view of your customer at the fingertips of your sales teams and call center reps. Everything you need to deliver the Holy Grail of the brand experience—the sense that you care for each and every one of your customers as if they were family (authenticity).
Yet even though the technology is there, and has been for some time, there are still a lot of bad experiences out there, including more than a few CRM fails. Bad data, disconnected data, disengaged sales teams, and a customer who is often left wondering if you even know them. How does this happen, and how can we stop it?
To answer that, we need to step back and define what we mean by authenticity. Ever since Coke taught the world to sing, we’ve been inundated with promises of authenticity. And since the days of the first mail merge, we’ve looked to technology to help us personalize and customize—all in the name of authenticity. Trust me, this message is for you.
If we look at the dictionary definition of authenticity, it’s pretty simple: authenticity \ˌȯ-ˌthen-ˈti-sə-tē \ noun. (1) reliability, dependability, trustworthiness; (2) the quality of being true to oneself. By that definition, authenticity becomes a promise. You can rely on me, and I will always be true to myself.
So why has something with such honorable meaning become such an eye-roll- worthy marketing buzzword? Because many have lost sight of its core meaning. It isn’t about apple pie fresh from your Kenmore oven, picking up your best girl in your Jeep, or Sunday dinner with mom on her Ethan Allen dining table. It’s about people, one on one, understanding the truth of each other and agreeing to relate to each other from that point of truth.
It’s the same with your customers. Loyal customers know the truth of what you have and who you are, and they have chosen to do business with you from that point of truth. That authenticity drives their loyalty. That means you can’t fake it, and there’s no technology out there that can give it to you if you don’t have it. It’s not a sales pitch or a marketing email. It’s your eye contact, your handshake: the thing that tells your customers and employees they can trust you.
So you can see how important it is to think long and hard before implementing a CRM or sales automation system. Done well, it can nurture trust. Done poorly, it can damage it.
In my next post, I’ll outline the five most common CRM implementation mistakes and how to avoid them.