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    CRM II

    (April 25, 2002) - CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems are sold by a variety of vendors. You encounter the consequences of them in a broad range of daily experience. Grocery Store Club Cards, Airline Loyalty Programs, Hotel Preferred Guest Cards, Amazon's recommendation programs, customer service that greets you by name and so on. The goal of CRM systems is to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and therefore spending by improving the personalization of the process. 

    A real time extension of the great salesperson's Rolodex, CRM prompts certain behavior and attempts to help the experience of doing business with a company feel more intimate. We enjoy being called "Mr. Sumser" at the grocery store (the cash register tells the clerk to do that using a CRM system). In California, that is the only place that someone gets called "Mister".

    In yesterday's edition, we ran a piece by Kevin Wheeler that described one approach to thinking about the utilization of the principles of CRM in a recruiting environment. Many of the ATS vendors are offering exactly what Kevin described: Candidate Relationship Marketing Systems. The distinction, though subtle at first, is powerfully important. A Customer Relationship Management System collects data from a variety of transactions and uses that information to increase the likelihood that more delight can be embedded in the relationship. A Candidate Relationship Marketing System makes little pretense about improving the relationship but is a sort of filter for the spam it generates.

    It is very important to understand that while industrial Customer oriented systems are powered by huge engines that search for meaning in transactions, the Candidate oriented systems are little more than sophisticated emailing programs that "match" a resume and job opportunities. We know of no offering in the industry that even pretends to care about candidate satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the end goal of the original CRM approach.

    It is also very important to understand that at least 50% of customer oriented CRM installations fail, usually because they are used as marketing weapons rather than customer satisfaction generators.

    With the single exception of Hire.com's toolset, none of the current crop of vendors offer any real insight into the development of relationships with potential employees that result in a growing pool of people who are excited about the prospect of going to work for your company. While that should be the objective of any CRM system applied to the Recruiting business, the reality of most CRM applications in our industry is that they are primitive and potentially destructive.

    The original intent of CRM was to produce layers of delight in customers by getting little things right in the relationship. The intent of CRM systems in our industry is to produce candidates. The former strengthens ties with customers. The latter is a lead generation system. For the most part, the tools being sold through ATS companies scavenge databases looking for "matches" and then ship unsolicited email to those matches. It's a sophisticated spam generation game.

    The interesting consequence is that by using one of the available tools, your company gets to join the ranks of other mass-marketers who, notably, offer Viagra, varieties of porn, debt reduction, Nigerian get rich quick schemes, online gambling and unintelligible Asian email. We're damned certain that this is not the path to becoming the employer of choice. All we can see, even in the short term where some results are produced, is damage to the company reputation. We wouldn't want our company's email to be thrown away in the same trash can as most of that stuff. We assume that the only reason trench level recruiters are getting away with using these tools is that their managers do not understand the damage that is being done.

    There are ways to utilize the principles of CRM in recruiting that are powerful, good extensions of company branding in the employment sphere. We'll discuss them tomorrow.

     -John Sumser

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    Copyright © 2013 interbiznet. All rights reserved.
    Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
    Mill Valley, CA 94941

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