During a recent briefing on operational intelligence given by a large technology company, the presenter referenced the following quote taken from the Harvard Business Review. "We judge leaders by how well they make big strategic decisions. But corporate success also depends on how well rank-and-file employees make thousands of small decisions. Do I give this client a special price? How do I handle this customer's complaint? Should I offer a seat upgrade to this passenger? By themselves, such daily calls - increasingly made with the help of technology - have little impact on business performance. Taken together, they influence everything from profitability to reputation."1

This made me sit up and take notice. I've used this quote in my customer relationship management (CRM) classes and presentations. I use it to reinforce the need to examine organization, culture and business process in all CRM technology implementations. I use it to highlight the need to ensure that front-line personnel have the training and knowledge to support making these types of daily customer-oriented decisions, that they are empowered to do so, and that front-line business processes do not preclude their ability to act effectively.

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