Project Management

Smarten Up: Building an Intelligent Corporation
Part 2: Getting to Know Your Customers

When you last tuned in, we set the basic framework for an organization's business intelligence strategy. We labeled these three key areas of business intelligence as relationship intelligence, supply chain intelligence and organizational intelligence. In this article, we will focus on relationship intelligence and how your organization can get to know its customers better.

The following diagram represents a high-level view of how any company interacts with its customers.

This process of an organization's interaction with a customer is an iterative one that hopefully continues throughout a customer's life. To crystallize this process, let me provide an example. You're flipping through an issue of Fortune magazine and you come upon an ad for a cool new personal organizer. You're immediately intrigued and want to find out more. So you call the phone number at the bottom of the page. You are greeted by a friendly sales representative who tells you more about the product. Now you are psyched to buy this organizer. The salesperson says that you should go to the nearest Best Buy to purchase the organizer. You buy the organizer and a few months later the screen is acting funny. You call tech support and they help you fix the problem. This is a typical interaction in the customer-corporation relationship. Hopefully, the customer will be happy with the purchase and will buy more …

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"If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide."

- Mahatma Gandhi