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The bank I use for my personal finances loves to get customer feedback – or so you would think. Every few months, they call me, presumably along with their other retail customers, to ask what I think about the bank's services and products and what improvements I'd like to see.
So for the past three years, I've told them the same four things that I believe would offer meaningful improvements for customers as well as for the bank – some improvements which are already in place at their local competitors. At the end of each conversation they thank me and tell me what great ideas I had. And then nothing happens.
I used to be flattered by their interest in my thoughts. Early on, I believed it was meant sincerely. But now it's become something of a nuisance. My suggestions never seem to find a path into the bank's labyrinth of decision making.
What I believe is actually happening is that they really do understand the value of customer input into product innovation; it's just that they don't know how to capture it, analyze it, roadmap it, or match it up with their corporate goals. Sadly, that's the case with many companies across all industries; they have no way to integrate the processes of product innovation with customer listening.
Companies that sell products or services that have been developed in response to clearly understood customer needs are the exception, not the rule. In fact, according to Forrester Research, fewer than one out of three companies actually make their decisions based on customer needs. Most are based on contractual or internally-generated requirements. As a result, half of all the new products launched fail according to Mike Burkett of AMR Research (Gartner).
Yet many of those same companies point with pride to their Voice of Customer programs. The problem is that most of their customers' voices tend to get lost as they pass from the customer to the supplier's product development decision-making process. Their ideas end up buried in email folders, sticky notes, and meeting minutes. And the results can sometimes backfire: instead of feeling valued and engaged in the supplier's product process, the customer ends up feeling ignored.
There is an easy way to fix this. Because of their direct contacts with customers, sales people and customer service reps are exposed to a wealth of information about customer needs, wants, problems and what they'll spend money on every day. And a company's CRM is perfectly suited to becoming a point of idea capture – collecting input from customers, prospects, sales staff, channel partners and others, and then retaining it in the product innovation management's single system of record. The key is to integrate social community-based ideation into CRM and create a unified solution that improves a company's ability to capture and respond to their customers' and partners' wants and needs.
A partnership between Accept Corporation and Oracle extends the capabilities of Integrating idea capture and management within the capabilities of CRM might help to usher in a new era; even for banking.
Use Accept360 Ideas for Oracle CRM On Demand to create internal and external on-line communities where customers and partners can submit, vote on and prioritize innovative product, campaign, services, and program ideas. Integrating world-class ideation with CRM functionality enables customer's needs and wants to be viewed in their own words within the customers' CRM profile. Sales and service representatives can also enter customer ideas directly in the customer's CRM profile to achieve a complete 360-degree view.
Leveraging Accept360 Ideas within Oracle PRM On Demand delivers the same capabilities based on a single repository for all partner suggestions and ideas enabling more responsive and profitable partner relations. The result is a complete 360-degree view of the partner, with contextual relevance, putting critical insight into the hands of sales, services and partner relationship management representatives.