July 8, 2016

The start of The CMR Agency – our initial story

The start of The CMR Agency

A balanced relationship: stop collecting – start connecting

The start of The CMR Agency.

With the ever increasing amount of commercial stimulae (thousands) per day directed at consumers, the need to build a solid and lasting relationship between organisations and their customers is of paramount importance. Organisations have long been collecting data on their customers, forcing the customer to re-enter data time and again for each separate organisation with varying requirements, passwords, etc. The Customer increasingly gets annoyed about this inefficient process. Moreover, their information ages quickly: about a quarter of a contact list gets outdated each year. At the same time, European regulation has been putting the customer at the center stage with countervailing power vis-a-vis the unbridled data collection. This forces companies to rethink their data strategy (stop colllecting), but presents an opportunity for engagement at the same time (start connecting). If done well, this leads to a stronger customer relation and more commercial opportunities. A Customer-Managed Relationship (CMR) which is advocated by The CMR Agency to arrive at an higher customer engagement – level.


CMR is good for your business:


  • Much better understanding of your market and customers (real-time, accurate as to behavior data, ability to collect data as preferences change (long term relationships)
  • 100% opt-in of customers increases attention and trust as well as all-around accountability
  • Focus on innovation
  • Customer information is not locked into silos; redundant systems make way for interconnected systems
  • Less fraud & identity theft
  • More engagement of your customers


CMR is good for your customers:


  • The fruits of innovation
  • Personal needs served better
  • No more forms filing in forms over and over again
  • Convenient
  • Autonomy – identity travels with the individual – authentication is opt-in
  • Two way handshake means much fewer mistakes – smoother transactions
  • Less fraud & identity theft


What is CMR?

A customer-managed relationship (CMR) is a relationship in which a business uses a methodology, software, or internet-capability to encourage the customer to set up and manage the nature and the duration of the relationship which he or she wants to have with the business. The customer decides which (type of) personal information he or she is willing to share with the business and for how long. CMR can be viewed as an alternative to or as a logical evolvement of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).


There are three aspects of CMR:


  1. Customers should have access to their own information including their profile, transaction history, and any inferred information such as marital history and even behavior.
  2. Customers should have access to this information across all departments.
  3. The entire system should be designed with the customer’s needs and feelings in balance with the company’s needs and desires.


CMR provides a richer communication between companies and their customers. It allows customers to choose how they wish to interact with the company, how they wish the company to serve them and to which extent they allow the company to access and use their personal data for this purpose. CMR is the beginning of a next wave of change within organisations by addressing customer demand for more control. Companies benefit from CMR as it provides an opportunity to create trust. It creates relationships with customers who feel that they are respected. It promotes customer loyalty and provides new opportunities of being relevant to customers.


The same line of thinking can be found under the title Vendor Relation Management[1].


Why would you need The CMR agency and why now?

Customers no longer conform to the push-marketing and sales-funnel thinking that most CRM systems are built upon, which tends to force customers into a relationship paradigm in which the business is in control. To truly transform your business today, you should focus on one-to-one customer engagement, which involves recognising the power that your customers hold and interacting with them on their terms, using real-time intelligence to become more informed about your customers and their needs. And what is a better way to become informed about the needs of your customers than by asking them? Companies can do that by giving the customers a communication tool with which they can directly communicate with you, your systems and technology and give them an interest to maintain their data at an accurate level.




Yes, because it helps your business but the urgency is caused by the new law, the European General Data Protection Regulation as has become effective as from 24th of May, 2016. Any citizen-customer can already rely upon the new rules and bring any organization that does not comply with the new rules to court.


Why would I invest in CMR?

The Direct Call to Action – the law

On 24th May 2016 new EU legislation entered into force which requests companies and organisations to handle personal data in a different way:


  • They must set clear targets for the use of personal data and should not collect more personal data than is necessary.
  • Also, companies must prove that their clients have given explicit permission to use their data and that they understand what is happening to their data.
  • Where personal data are processed for direct marketing purposes, individuals have been granted the right to object at any time to processing of personal data concerning them for such marketing, which includes profiling to the extent that it is related to such direct marketing.
  • Data breaches must be reported immediately, an obligation, which exists since 1st January 2016 in The Netherlands.
  • Individuals have the right to transfer their personal data from one platform to another, from Whatsapp to Telegram or to Dappre and from LinkedIn to Facebook and back.
  • Finally there is the ‘right to be forgotten’: the obligation to delete customer data from the systems, if the customer asks for it.


The rules entered into force on 24th May, this year already. Companies, governments and other organisations have time to adapt their processes and procedures until 25th  May, 2018, after which the rules will be applied by the supervising authorities. Who fails to comply to these rules by that time not only risk a heavy fine (administrative fines up to € 20.000.000, or in the case of a business undertaking, up to 4 % of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher) but also negative publicity, loss of credibility and trust. However, who actively embraces the regulation, will stand out, have a chance for renewed customer intimacy, be associated with ease-of-use for the customer and be able to reduce costs at the same time. Whilst the authorities will enforce the new rules from 25 May 2018 onwards with fines, individuals can already now rely on the new rules in civil procedures. Thus there is an urgent need to act.


For marketeers GDPR is a must to be aware of.


The opportunity – your customer

Customer Service: Added Value


Customer service is a very critical component of the customer relationship. 59 percent of customers are willing to try a new brand on the promise of better customer service[2]. Research shows that companies rated high for customer satisfaction have better stock price performance than brands rated low for customer satisfaction[3]. There is a significant value to be harvested by investing in customer service.


Superior customer service allows you to not only prevent your customers from defecting to other brands, but also to price your product with a higher margin: One survey states that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better service[4].


The Evolution of CRM


In the past, Customer Relation Management systems would focus on metrics like lead volume, number of calls, and first-call resolution. These metrics drove internal efficiencies for the business that at the time also offered benefits to customers. As customer expectations increased and channels evolved, businesses then needed to look at ways in which each customer interaction could be more effective for them and the customer (see Figure 1).


The road to CMR and increased customer engagement :

The CMR Agency - Road to CMR

The CMR Agency – Road to CMR


In essence, while effective, this “inside-out” approach didn’t lend itself to either brand or service differentiation or the ability to make an emotional connection with the customer. The interactions became merely transactions. The next generation of technology is forcing businesses to look at ways in which they can use CRM to differentiate the end customer’s experience.



The Future of Customer Engagement

Customer engagement continues to evolve, and more change is inevitable. Trust is vital in making a real connection with your customers.  Push is sending and exploitation, pull is listening and collaboration. The latter builds trust.

Customer engagement is much bigger than the scope of many traditional CRM approaches that follow an inside-out, control-based, salesforce automation design principle that is entirely at odds with the modern buyer. CRM applications today are at an inflection point, one driven by a future in which companies need to start closing the execution gap from the analysis of customer information to driving contextual engagement in real time, because with customers in control, they can quickly and easily move on to other options if brands don’t meet their specific needs.


Trust it is built by excelling in the daily provision of services. Touch point performance, the perceived quality of customer facing employees, the ease of doing day-to-day business are the most important elements in building or reinforcing trust: a Customer Managed Relationship (CMR)!


We will get more personal with our customers (again) and the mobile device which tells much more about your customer will be a key factor in this development.


[1] http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/projectvrm/Main_Page#About_VRM

[2] American Express Survey, 2011

[3] Beating the Market with Customer Satisfaction – Harvard Business Review, March 2007

[4] Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow, 2010


Contact The CMR Agency.