Overzealous CRM

A colleague of mine had a recent example of what I term “overzealous CRM”. He was surfing a website and had logged in to his account with a view to purchasing some technical equipment when a phone call interrupted his purchase.  Finishing the call, he was distracted onto other things until a second call interrupted him. It was a salesperson from the website company asking whether he was having problems with their checkout process as they had noticed he had logged on to his account and had stopped half-way though a purchase.

Presumably the marketing department at this website thought this phone call was, in terms of Kano analysis, a “delighter”. Rather than be delighted with this “customer service”, my colleague found it off-putting, to say the least. Outside the CRM area, an interesting recent analogy is that  Google Streetview. Many applauded the neat software but others had privacy concerns.

So; if one person’s delighter can be another person’s annoyance – how do you play it? I think the way is to recognise that boundaries exist – the boundary where a potentially-useful feature encroaches into other areas, for example, into one’s personal physical space, using the example of Google Streetview. I think of the boundary as a sort of reverse HCI where the “stakeholders” have not been consulted. An interaction in this area needs extra awareness; just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Occasionally it can work spectacularly well but, as we have seen, it often can backfire.