Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Personal: On the Divide Between Corporate and Customer Engagement Strategy

It is strange to think that I got more insight compared with the audience from my presentation last week on Social CRM. It must be a drag for them listening to me for about 40 minutes or so and realize that what I am saying would not see the light of day in a corporate setting. There's nothing really bad than being pressed for 'sales' but sometimes the direct way of offering products and services back to back with highlighting 'your supposed needs' doesn't work all the time.

Putting yourself in the shoes of a customer may seem cliche but heck, it still works (ask criminal profilers). All too often, I find myself cringe when in contact with a company person who tries to hook you into a conversation all the while looking for an opening to pitch his product and schedule a sales call. Try as I might, I think he is just waiting for my defenses to back down and deliver that sales punch his manager would be proud of. Begrudgingly, as a result, customers like me would feel as if we were duped or victimized rather than feel valued.

So what would be the ideal approach? Hmmm, the normal one, I guess. The one where I'm treated as a person. It seems like it's a lot of effort but then it's for the long run and not just a one-shot deal. Coupled with a really great product or service, this type of engagement which places the customer, before the company, would make a subtle but powerful knockout punch that will resonate even after the initial meeting.

As they say, customers like to be treated as kings. Yet more than anything, royalties find a deep longing for persons whom they can trust.