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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Individual Relationship Management (IRM™) - putting Mobile and GPS Innovation on steroids

This is a continuation of our series on IRM™ - Individual Relationship Management.  To catch up, see the first two part series, authored by John Fleming of Solutionz.  


Part 1 - The flaw in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as the sole approach to Customer Intimacy
Part 2 - Individual Relationship Management (IRM) trumps CRM

We are a mobile society.  We are on the move.  We insist on remaining connected when we leave our homes.  We want access to the same stuff we have at home.  We also want help in finding what we are looking for, if in fact we aren't sure of the details of navigating to our destination.

Today's hyper-local content focus is evolving rapidly.  We have mobile apps, websites and GPS systems where points of interest are tagged with latitude and longitude, where pictures of the destination are available and can be integrated into my driving directions and where I can actually "check in" to a particular location and get an offer that is relevant to that place (e.g. at or close to the place) and share it with others in my network.  Amazing really.  But I maintain that the status quo is not enough.

Let's agree that the goal is to get from amazing to brilliant and even beyond that to WOW.

When you deliver location based information or offers over a smart phone, a tablet, a website or a GPS device, what you don't know and can't see by my previous behavior is what my current situation is (e.g. who I'm with) and my intent in accessing the data (e.g. what am I trying to accomplish, which we believe is a combination of mode and catalyst).  Well, that just sounds too hard, so most systems just go the safe route and deliver the same information to everyone.

Said simply, it is one thing to push me a coupon for Dunkin Donuts when my 10 and 12 year old kids are in the car and I'm driving near one.  It is quite different to do that when I'm alone.  I prefer McDonalds' coffee (don't tell Starbucks) and don't really like donuts.  So just because I am nearby, doesn't mean that the offer is relevant to me right now.

Right offer, right time, right place.   Add in right situation, right intent and you start to get close to Individual Relationship Management (IRM).

Another approach is to provide a list of the Top 10.  The assumption is that just because something is popular, that I will like it or find the information at the very least, interesting.  So the approach of serving me the top restaurants when I travel to Washington DC is tantamount to a waiter serving me a plate of pork chops without me ordering and when I ask why, he tells me that it is the top thing that was ordered the previous day.  Well, perhaps I don't eat meat or I just don't like pork.  I don't know about you, but "top" across a wide range of people will rarely be my top.

And if I'm looking for a restaurant in Tampa, I don't want to see every choice for all 69 types of cuisine.   I just want what I like.  No, correction.  My husband is with me.  I like Indian and Thai.  He is patently opposed to the "extreme" types of ethnic food (emphasis mine).  He'll go for Mexican and Italian, but not much beyond that.  But wait, now the kids are coming a long and they won't eat Mexican.  Now once we get this narrowed down, serving me a "top" list can work, but it isn't a home run 100% of the time.  Bear with me on this one.

So another dimension of my search is my intent.  If I want to take my daughter's softball team out for pizza, clearly there are many choices.  If I am looking at the "user generated content", also known as consumer opinions, just knowing that ABC restaurant has great pizza, doesn't tell me whether it is softball mom/team friendly.

Same thing for a hotel.  I may see a great hotel online and read the reviews and find one that is really terrific.  I am going on my 20th anniversary trip with my husband.  Imagine my surprise to find out that the reviews were written by a bunch of soccer moms/coaches who traveled with 10-20 teenagers that don't sleep and love to bang doors when going from room to room?   Knowing their situation and intent would have been helpful before I ruined my anniversary trip.

IRM takes into account my situation and my intent.  If you touch a consumer face to face or voice to voice, versus online, you can start to implement IRM in your call center, at your front desk, in your store, your restaurant, etc.  Online, a little tougher without technology......

To get started, review your strategy.  If you do not have a customer centric approach to everything in your business, that is a good place to start.

If you need more information about that, visit our website.
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