Developing Consumer Product Relationship
Food and Beverage

Developing a winning CRM strategy

Trust is the basis to winning and sustaining a long-term customer relationship. Trust isn’t granted it’s earned on continuous basis. The greater the trust factor the more the customer is prepared to share information about themselves and deepen their relationship and loyalty. Organisations must continuously demonstrate implicitly and explicitly how much they value customer trust.

If you read my previous article The perils of customer relationship management (CRM) you will recall this quote – Kamdampully and Duddy (1999a) suggests “It costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.” For most business owners a reason for CRM.

Increasingly it’s becoming difficult for firms to retain a distinctive product/service differentiation over long periods and retain customers’ ongoing patronage. Nonetheless business owners, managers should focus on customer retention marketing. The objective being to establish a long-term interpersonal relationships through the fulfilment of the service promise. The stronger your interpersonal relationship the more resilient your customer loyalty is towards competitors.

Technology won’t delivery customer loyalty it’s a tool and nothing else. Delivering superior personalised customer experience will delivery customer loyalty. The better you understand your customers’ the greater your ability to foresee innovate and adapt your offering to changing customer needs.

CRM can help you to record interactions, transactions, pertinent information all essential factors to personalising client communications. Note, CRM database are useless if client profile data isn’t collated quantified, qualified and regularly updated. Zahra et al. (1999) states market dynamism creates opportunities for the company to protect, upgrade or even revise its technological capabilities.

CRM can help you to identify emerging segment trends before competitors recognise the opportunity.

Service firms by their inherent characteristics are inseparable from production and consumption consequently service firms’ own the elements necessary to forge relationships with customers. Because most service companies offer almost the same core product/services, differentiation is dependent upon the firms’ capability to develop long-term customer relationships. Customer perceived service quality, satisfaction and value is totally dependent upon holistic and whole understanding of the customer.

When I left school I began my working life at the Dorchester’s Park Lane, Terrace Restaurant, I worked in all food and beverage outlets, lounge, bar, banqueting ending up in room service. Recording customer data was paramount to ensuring customers felt valued and their custom was appreciated. For example preferred table, cabinet ornament layout, photograph display, room furniture arrangement. Inn on the Park, Hilton Park Lane, Claridges all did the same.

These days CRM database ensures such data is retained removing the need for key departmental staff to memorise client requirements or record and update departmental paper and card records. The benefit being, in the event a key member of staff wasn’t present, the customer wouldn’t suffer a deterioration in service standards. A further benefit designated data can be easily shared between departments. This capability reduces staff communication breakdown occurrences.

The more contact you have with customers the stronger your insight into customer requirements. In turn the better able you will become to match customer need to business location and product positioning.

Astonishing many websites don’t have technology in place despite the low cost and relative ease to track the effectiveness of their websites. Consequently marketing campaigns run the risk of alienating customers with inappropriate and ill targeted offers.

Just as shocking campaign return on investment (ROI) cannot be calculated. For example systems to measure ROI include: cookie crawlers (pay per click PPC) etc. Coded response to each promotion can track the cost of specific initiatives by income generated as a percentage and recorded in CRM.

Most websites are transactional in nature they provide information and process orders and little else. Such websites miss the opportunity to integrate email marketing campaign to nurture a relationship to collect and segment customer information. CRM email campaign can be segmented tailored and targeted to fit particular groups.

Segmented information assists you with content marketing. Segmentation also helps you to build a positive relationship by targeting specific groups. Segmentation differentiates your message from competitors’. Targeted communication reduces the possibility potential customers are alienated by inappropriate email and as an added benefit, prospects’ responses can be measured.

Too often the internet is blamed for making pricing too transparent and this factor alone forces all to compete on price alone. You should note two way interactive dialogue can build upon know, like and trust factors. If your customer relationship has a strong know, like and trust element then the price equation is removed from the decision to purchase.

Communication helps identify customer need and provides opportunity to explain how requirements can be satisfied in turn overcome price differentiation.

CRM data mining, tracking technologies, provide you with a CLEAR IDEA as to why you’re in business, online and whether you are doing so profitably.

A well designed customer centric CRM system can deliver all of the above buts its worth remembering you can deploy any amount of technology, but unless you know how and why it benefits your business, time and money can be wasted.


CRM implementations fail for the following reasons;

  • Poor or no customer strategy
  • Meagre or no staff training
  • CRM workflows are poorly designed and understood.


Developing Consumer Relationship


The perils of customer relationship management (CRM)


Christopher Bird Author