Why is it that we all have more bad service stories than good ones? Surveys show that customer satisfaction is dropping across most industries, and consumers are progressively more defiant when companies don’t measure up to their standards, increasing “churn” or switching. For every Nordstrom, Four Seasons, Amazon, or USAA—each well known for great customer service – there are all too many other companies where the art and science of service are lacking.

To be more “customer-centric,” many companies are turning to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Unfortunately, many of the CRM programs to date have failed, over 50% by some studies2, stalling efforts to build and sustain customer loyalty, and create lasting change.

A comparison of companies with successful customer service initiatives, and those with poor service reputations or unsuccessful CRM implementations, yields several insights that can guide executives and IT managers alike toward real progress:

  1. Great service is built upon three simple principles.
  2. Roadblocks exist everywhere—they need to be identified, and overcome quickly.
  3. Making CRM come to life can be accomplished by following a process of seven steps.


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