Have you replaced your car with a helicopter?

If not, its time you did so. Lets find out why.

In the current business environment characterized by global competition and fast changing technology, we need to change our attitude and our way of thinking constantly for a number of reasons. First, the past is no longer an indicator of the future. You do not have the luxury to predict the future based on the what has happened in the past. Second, the changes taking place in the business environment are getting more and more discontinuous in nature. For instance, in the past we could never imagine a telephone without wires but today there is a strong possibility that landlines may become obsolete. Third, changes are taking place at a fast pace which is making even the immediate past irrelevant for making future predictions.

Of course, technology is playing a major role in bringing about discontinuous change not only in the business environment but also in our behavior, both in the workplace and at home. It is also bringing tremendous uncertainty in our life. We are forced to make constant changes in our lifestyles and way of working. Competition is increasing and margins are getting squeezed. We have no choice but to adopt new technology and new management concepts if we want to survive the intense competition.
It is while adopting new technology and new management concepts that we are making the mistake of thinking that we are replacing our car with a new car whereas in reality you are replacing it with a helicopter. Just like when you have to think in a different manner when you are traveling by a helicopter instead of a car, you have to think in a different manner when you adopt new management concepts or a new discontinuous technology.

For instance, when we adopt technology we only think of becoming more efficient but not more effective. For instance, technology allows you to automate systems and procedures, that is, you can now do more efficiently whatever you were doing before. But this is not the only benefit of adopting new technology nor the more critical one. The best part is that technology gives us the opportunity to change the way we are operating or doing things. This results in more efficient and effective utilization of scarce resources to achieve the objectives of an organization as well as create more wealth for the society with available resources.

When we become owners of a helicopter, the way we travel changes completely as compared to when we traveled by car. We have to hire a pilot instead of a driver. We need a helipad and a flight plan instead of a road and a hanger instead of a garage. Further, preventative maintenance takes on a whole new meaning because you cannot afford to be stranded in mid air hoping to call a tow truck or a mechanic.

I have used this concept as the underlying theme in his new book titled Taking the Buzz out of CRM. In this book, I have suggested that when we adopt CRM and related technologies, we are replacing our car not with just another car but with a helicopter. We have to think different. We have to do different. As someone said, “if you keep doing what you were doing before, you will keep getting what you were getting before.”

However, most of the companies which have adopted CRM concept and related technologies have not understood this. For them, it is business as usual. For instance, CRM demands that we resolve the customer complaint on first contact because in majority of the cases all the necessary information to resolve the customer complaint is available to the customer service representative on his monitor. But customer service representatives are not given the authority to solve customer’s problems. Instead, just like the old days, they note down your complaint / request and pass it along to the concerned department. In addition, CRM requires that the customer service representative (CSR) should become a decision maker whereas businesses continues to use CSRs like before, that is, complaint forwarding clerks.

Is it surprising that most of us dread calling the call center of a company for assistance? Is it surprising that the corporate world is also disappointed with CRM as they are not getting the desired results by adopting CRM and related technologies? To most of us, the growing disenchantment with CRM may sound surprising but not to me. Why? Because companies have not realized that after adopting CRM, they have replaced their car with a helicopter and not just by another car.

In my latest book, Taking the Buzz out of CRM, I have discussed in detail the reasons for our disillusionment with CRM and why customer dissatisfaction is on the rise. I have also discussed possible solutions to exploit the true potential of CRM. So, if you have implemented CRM or are implementing CRM or are thinking of implementing CRM, this book will certainly assist you in flying your helicopter instead of driving it.

Avinash Narula

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Comments

It is also bringing tremendous uncertainty in our life. We are forced to make constant changes in our lifestyles and way of working. your blog post is so nice..
Business Change Management

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