After twenty five plus years of CRM, is there any other possible conclusion to be reached? And for that matter, as Esteban Kolsky challenged me last week when I tweeted this statement, does customer intimacy even exist? Or should it?
Now don't get me wrong, we see all around us countless examples of great customer experience (and no, I'm not talking about this). My friend Stan Phelps is on a wonderful mission to find random acts of marketing and customer service lagniappe. And he's found plenty.
But none of that has anything to do with intimacy. Nowhere in the definition is the mention of the word "customer". And my point is further exemplified when you compare these descriptions of intimacy with the watered-down, tepid description of customer intimacy here.
Asking Esteban's indulgence for a moment here, lets assume it actually does exist. It exists at my corner antique book store. It does not exist on Amazon (sorry Amazon. I dig you. But its true). It exists at my local hardware and feed supply store (yes, I live in a place where feed supplies are still in demand). It does not exist at Lowes. And it exists at my favorite bakery where the owner knows the personal details of every occasion for which I've ordered one of their totally decadent chocolate three layer cakes. At the bakery counter of Wegmans? Not so much.
Think about it. I chose to call out these big companies intentionally. They happen to be some of my favorite companies with which to do business. And, all of them deliver a pretty darn good customer experience.
But, are we intimate? It's just not possible. Intimacy doesn't scale.