Monday, March 10, 2014

Understanding the true life-cycle of a customer

Pepperdine's CRM initiative is an important step toward improved customer experiences.

A contact in a database (and how they are managed across the enterprise) is something to be handled with care. This is both a challenge and a goal for Pepperdine's CRM initiative. Carefully managing the customer is more important than the tool utilized.

As we look to the remarkable use of technology and data collection capabilities, I had an observation on Pepperdine's evolution of our Constituent Relationship Management.

Consider for a moment our current status, call it CRM 1.0

The University has multiple tools already in place; such as Hobsons, Raiser's Edge, Cvent, Target X, Peoplesoft, among others; all systems of data collection and relationship management in some form. The University in some respects, is already conducting relationship management (CRM 1.0) for Pepperdine.

Pepperdine's CRM initiative is an important step that will move the University to a more unified model: CRM 2.0

Salesforce and associated tools in consideration; Radian 6, Chatter, Target X, Exact Target, Marketo or others will be CRM 2.0 for Pepperdine University. That is to say, this will be a fantastic move to unify the multiple lead capture systems across the enterprise into one master database with one sole unique identifier. The identifier will be critical in providing a full understanding of our brand aware audiences and how we can best communicate with them. What this phase will not do, is deliver a seamless customer experience from the information of that master database alone. In fact, the true seamless customer experience has touch points often outside of a CRM database. Therefore to assure a pleasing experience throughout the user journey is on us, the brand advocates.

When fully realized, CRM 2.0 will lay the foundation for our next step; CRM 3.0

For Pepperdine to move toward that seamless process, there will need to be data democracy, whereas key administrators of a true CRM system are utilizing the data as evangelists for the user experience. This end-to-end communication over the life-cycle of the entire relationship Pepeprdine has with a constituent will be the ultimate goal and produce the greatest long-term results. Not just for Pepperdine, but more importantly for the customer interested in engaging with the Pepperdine brand and what it stands for.

Roadmap Considerations: We can get there from here.

There are many tools and methodologies to achieve such results, one in particular I am a proponent of, is the creation of Service Blueprints for Pepperdine's primary User Personas. The Service Blueprint approach will lay the foundation for this end-to-end customer experience journey.

Finally, the success metrics which we look at must be clearly defined and may include; increased quality applicants, greater brand awareness and brand perception, improved end user experience, increased alumni relationship engagement, wider reach, higher valued donor relations, among others.

Pepperdine University is in a specific Higher Ed market niche with unique differentiators, and when communicated regularly and effectively to the constituents within the core target demographics, the University has the potential to fully extend the reach and depth of it's brand.

Delighting the constituent across all touch points will create the long-term positive relationship we seek.

John Ayers

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