Geneva, Switzerland




Are " Customer Service"  Just Two Words Or Are You Serious? How Well Do You Integrate Your Brand?

Study a Specific Example of How the Media Can Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Here


Companies often talk about how they are dedicated to customer service, but applying it is another matter.  Companies are aware their brand makes them a household name, but is that brand being used to its fullest customer advantage?  And since you have an established  customer base, are you doing everything you can to maximize profits from those customers?

We offer a one day session which tells you what you need to do to improve your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and how important it is to integrate your Brand into everything that you do. 

Examples of what we discuss: 

Ø   Software is at the core of CRM – every department needs to know  about every contact made with a customer whether it was the sales person or customer service. So obviously IT has a large role to play. But one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is allowing IT to actually run the project. It is the sales and marketing people on the front line who are responsible for customer relationships, and it is they who must drive the project.

Ø   CRM projects are not easy. To be successful they must receive 100% support from all departments, all managers, from the chairman on down. Failure to have this support at the beginning is one of the biggest reasons why CRM projects are doomed. 

Ø   Training is a major part of CRM. It’s no use producing the system if people cannot take full advantage. And by training we don’t mean just on the software. Training concerns attitudes towards the customer, and everyone who is customer facing – from field service, to help desks, to sales and marketing – must sing from the same hymn book. 

Ø   And where to begin a CRM project? With the customer. What does your customer want from you? When you answer that one simple question then you know how the various processes must flow throughout the company.  

Ø   Your brand must be the cornerstone of everything you do. Your brand is just as important as your people and equipment. It must be nurtured so that the Brand-Customer relationship is the very core of your business strategy. 


How to Maintain Readership Loyalty

Many European newspapers continue to suffer circulation declines but there is one solid way of not only stopping the trend but reversing it, too. Simply ask your readers what they want, and – here’s the secret of success – continually involve them in helping to decide the newspaper’s contents.

All too often newspapers conduct annual readership surveys but seldom do they tell their respondents the final results, and seldom do they promise to carry through the main conclusions from the research. Little wonder that readers lose patience and circulation continues to decline.

There seems to be something in the European culture that inhibits the media from asking for help from its customers. They go through the motion of surveys, but don’t make the most use of the surveys by continuing the customer contact.

US media are more familiar with customer contact. The Associated Press news agency, for instance, has a long-established Managing Editor’s group (APME) made up of client managing editors that regularly advises the AP on what it should be doing. So powerful is the loyalty factor of this group that back in the 1980s UPI started advisory boards for its newspaper and broadcast clients, trying to instill that same brand loyalty.

But  Ekstra Bladet, Denmark’s largest PM circulation newspaper,  has been active now for nearly three years in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) project aimed at producing loyalty from a readership base that buys the newspaper each day rather than depending on subscriptions – some 90% of total sales are made at news stands each day.  The results are encouraging and other newspapers should take note. 

Like many newspapers in Europe, Ekstra Bladet faced declining circulation – some 30% of those newsstands it depends on for its sales have gone out of business in the past three years.  In addition, free tabloids aimed at the young and commuters are successful; readers go to the web for news, and there is constant television news available.

So why buy Ekstra Bladet? The editors understood it had to be because they produced something the readers wanted, and who better to tell them what readers wanted, but the readers.

As explained at the recent Direct Marketing Association annual conference, Ekstra Bladet first concentrated on its sports product. First problem was how could a newsstand-based newspaper learn who its readers were?  The newspaper ran a survey and respondents were asked to mail or email responses. Some 90% responded by email and the newspaper knew that was the communication channel for the future.

The respondents were told they were now members of the sports panel. They were asked what sports they were interested in, and which particular teams and then they received newsletters emphasizing those teams and sports.  They also got special software allowing them to see the front page of that day’s sports section plus some news.

The communications between the newspapers and the panel was frequent with  respondents saying after a while in large numbers that they thought the sports section had improved although in fact there were few changes. it was obvious that reader involvement gave the reader a more positive outlook on the product. They were hooked!

With the sports success it was now time to tackle the general readership. Questionnaires gave the biographies of the four main editors – a way of saying these are the people who are producing your newspaper now tell us about yourself. Those who participated get their own front page  newsletter via email..

In the two experiments combined about 100,000 responses were received and there are some 46,000 active participants. The newspaper has sent some 400 emails to each participant of a 2 ½ year period. The communication continues and circulation has slightly increased. 

But the bottom line is that even between newspapers and its readers, CRM works. It takes a lot of effort, but at the end of the day the reader who feels involved continues to be a reader. And that is the name of the game!



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