Exit interviews with key or “gatekeeper” employees can provide both critical and useful
information on the well being of a company. At Classic Airlines, two exit interviews told the
story of a company in customer relationship crisis.
“Either get rid of the supposed CRM [Customer Relationship Management] system, or
get it straightened out fast. We spent an unbelievable sum of money to implement one of the best
platforms available, and we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) spend the extra little bit to fit the system
around the needs of our customers…you’ve got to capture customer contact at all points of
interaction with the company to provide the proverbial “360-degreee view of the customer”.
Until that is addressed, all you’ve really got is an expensive reservations system, and not even a
good one at that,” said Classic Airlines’ former Vice President of Marketing (University, 2006).
“…I really felt the company was moving in the right direction. I guess I’d have to say
something related to the frequent-flier program. It seemed that my reps received pretty consistent
negative feedback from customers, and with the rising cost issues we were dealing with
company-wide, I don’t think the company had the time or money to respond,” said former
Supervisor, Customer Service for Classic Airlines (University, 2006).
In any business, customer relationship management—including psychographic
segmentation (focuses on lifestyles, attitudes, values, and beliefs of consumers) (Smith, 1997)—
has become integral in marketing strategies. However, the cost to maintain a strong and effective
system, as well as time-consuming data entry tasks, does little to bolster executive and sales
end-user buy-in (Myron, 2006). Nonetheless, companies with declining sales and customer
dissatisfaction, like Classic Airlines, must find alternative solutions, examine risks, and
demonstrate a measurable return on investment (University, 2006).