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Mike Muhney, CEO and co-founder of VIPorbit Software International (along with co-inventor of ACT! Software), told Loyalty 360 that he believes phrases such as B2B or B2C are dead now.
“The world we live in today is P2P – People to People,” Muhney said. “The focus should be on 1-to-1 systems. If that results in CRM being used, that’s great. The world we live in has become more superficial and more shallow with more quantity at the expense of quality. Twitter makes it seem like we have a lot of relationships, or someone has 5,000 friends on Facebook. Let’s redefine friends. How can I have 5,000 friends? The mindset we live in is steeped in information and an abundance of access to information.”
Muhney doesn’t like the phrase CRM.
“What I can manage is me,” he said. “We all know today we are our own brand. How do I best manage me? My reputation is what I’m trying to manage. It leads me, follows me, and surrounds me.”
CRM, Muhney said, should stand for Critical Reputation Methods. CRM efforts have to engage the customer.
“How much of a loyalty factor and engagement factor are you creating?” Muhney asked. “None of us in the world can hide anymore with things like Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. We can’t keep our head in the ground anymore. Brands need to listen to customers more than ever in the past and engage them.”
Typical discourtesy upsets most people, Muhney said, and as a result, brands need to realize this and listen to their customers.
“There is an over-reliance on mass efforts to reach customers,” Muhney said. “They are dead giveaways and no one likes that impersonal nature any longer. There has to be a personal connection so I feel rewarded and that they’re watching out for me.”
CRM efforts are worthy, but it comes down to training people.
“It comes down to common sense and human courtesy,” Muhney said. “How you treat people with a pleasant smile or firm handshake can go a long way in being viewed as authentic and establishing that trust factor. The customer doesn’t give a damn if you’re using a CRM system. They care about how they’re being treated when they interact with a company. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Always teach fundamentals because you can’t rely on Hail Mary passes.”
CRM is about relationships and they have to be more soulful and heart-felt, Muhney said, rather than clinical.
“CRM hasn’t made an entire salesforce more successful,” he said. “It comes down to each individual. Part of the success is because of the attitude they have toward people. It’s P2P and it’s all about connecting and locking that in. What will happen over time is the pendulum will swing back to this personal need and personal focus.”
Muhney doesn’t like the “Big Brother” aspect of CRM.
“You can’t force the ball into the hole,” he said. “You can’t manage relationships. Relationships are emotional.”
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