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The Care And Feeding Of Customers

Readers Report

The Care and Feeding of Customers

In "An eagle eye on customers" (Special Report, Feb. 21), Steve Hamm and Robert Hof offer an interesting assessment of customer relationship management (CRM) as a rapidly emerging software category--one that is helping businesses compete in the New Economy by helping them understand and market to their customers.

However, CRM is about more than simply finding the best product solutions to meet a company's needs. Rather, CRM needs to be viewed as an all-encompassing business strategy--a customer-centric philosophy of doing business that affects every single consumer touchpoint.

Savvy business leaders will clearly recognize the full potential of CRM; they will incorporate a customer-centric CRM philosophy into the core of their business and use CRM strategies to create an integrated, corporatewide view of the customer. In doing so,

the most successful companies will empower themselves to attract, retain, and care for the ever-demanding consumer.

Deepak Sircar

Group Vice-President

eCRM Division

Reynolds & Reynolds Co.

Carrollton, Tex.

Your article on customer management and software is timely and informative. Better understanding of your customers is one key to success in the New Economy. Many companies, however, both Net-centric and old-line, continue to ignore the customer-service representatives and the work processes in the customer interaction center. The software you detailed is wonderful and has the potential to affect a business' success.

The full impact, though, can only be realized if there is first a complete rethinking of an organization's work processes. We have seen all too many companies investing in customer-relationship management software without first optimizing the organization. Remember, 75% to 80% of the cost in a customer interaction center is people-related. Before investing in CRM software, assess what you have today.

Gerald F. Giermak

President & Chief Operating Officer

Atlas Technology Group

ChicagoReturn to top

Those Old Stock Prices Are British, Not Spanish

"Should you be scared of decimal stock pricing?" (BusinessWeek Investor, Feb. 21) repeats the Wall Street lore that the one-eighth tick size is an anachronism traceable to the use of Spanish "pieces of eight." There is no evidence, however, that Spanish money was ever widely used as a medium of exchange in New York financial circles.

The earliest New York Stock Exchange transactions were denominated in British currency. The pre-decimal British pound was equal to 20 shillings, the crown was five shillings (one-fourth of a pound), and the half-crown was two shillings and sixpence (one-eighth of a pound). The one-eighth tick size found in U.S. stock markets probably originated from the division of the pre-decimal British pound into fourths and eighths. British currency was converted to decimals in 1971.

Edward A. Dyl

TucsonReturn to top

Tech Companies Need to Get Their Employees Wired, Too

Kudos to Ford Motor Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. for taking the bold step to get their employees wired to the Net and the world of computing ("Workers of the world, log on," News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb 21). It shows that they realize the value of their most important asset: their people and where they need to be in today's world. As an added extra, this is sure to pay a huge dividend in worker knowledge, innovation, and productivity.

But wait a minute.... What is missing here? Have you seen any tech company doing the same thing? The real story here may be the lack of action by tech companies, like IBM, that should have done this first. It speaks volumes about how these companies are managed and where they are likely headed.

Bruce Broadley

New YorkReturn to top

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