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By Aida Porras, M.A.

Yesterday, OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President Sarah Threnhauser discussed the importance of customer service in today’s health care marketplace (A 5-Star Industry Change all members). And while most service provider organizations can’t hire the Ritz Carlton to provide customer service training for their staff, there is a practical way that your organization can help to improve your customer service.

In our 24/7, hyper-connected world, the most efficient—and effective—way to manage your customer relationships is to integrate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. A high-quality CRM strategy will utilize technology to transform customer interaction into engaged relationships (see Out-Service Your Competition: CRM’s Relevance In Today’s Health Care Market ).

In short, CRM is a business strategy for managing your organization’s interactions with many customer types, across many business and social settings. Ours is an era where the customer’s experience is synonymous with the product, and gone is a time where we could separate the brand from the experience. Like never before, your organization needs to know more about your customer’s preferences and experiences so that you are able to outshine your competition.

The information that you collect through a CRM system (including consumer service history, outcome and performance measurements, employee activity data, and financial data) can become, with the proper integration and understanding, the base on which you can build your organization’s success. Identifying those points that can guide the development and use of CRM is the first critical step in using a customer-oriented approach to your brand. Frequently, I’ve heard Monica ask executive teams of service provider organizations: “If consumers have a choice, will they choose you?” That is a question that all service provider organizations need to consider in today’s market, and a CRM strategy can help you to ensure that the answer to that question is a definite “yes.”

To learn more about CRM strategies and software to support business development for your organization, join me for an information-packed FREE webinar, Optimizing Residential Treatment Marketing & Referral Development Through Customer Relationship Management, on September 22 at 2:00pm ET. Hope to speak with you all there! And if you have any questions about developing your own CRM strategy in the meantime, e-mail me at


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