This is a solid readable reasonably well-balanced account of the CRM concepts, and probably the most recently published textbook on CRM (2009). I think I would give it anything from 3* to almost 5* depending on what was wanted from it.
Sadly it has advanced only a little over where we were at the beginning of the century. It's got almost no inclusion on the online space, websites, social media and Web 2.0, surely a significant opportunity to get ahead of the rest of the market, given that there really doesn't seem to be any really excellent book covering everything today. However you can address that by getting a specialist book on the side. Try something like Chaffey and his partners' book on Internet Marketing There are also few in-depth case studies, although there are plenty of short snippets. Like other CRM books it is weak on the brand, both the perspective of brand building and alignment with the brand, and also fails to consider integration with IMC.
Those are the caveats, and they should be understood in the context that there is no perfect book on CRM. Although it has not advanced much over where we were 6 to 8 years ago, what it does cover it covers reasonably well, and also describes a number of the key models that have been developed and reflects their learning. As the subtitle suggests, it focuses on the ideas and technologies involved in CRM.
It has a sensible if basic section on creating value for customers and covers customer service and the customer life cycle. It also focuses on the profitability of customers, covering segmentation from the perspective of customer portfolio management, which takes more of a financial than attitudes or needs-based approach, an area that could be improved. It does address and mention such interesting subjects (albeit briefly) as activity based costing. Its related description of data mining and analytics is introductory and never attempts to get too technical. While it is not as good as Adrian Payne on service development and process improvement, it does cover these areas in a broad and relatively uncontentious way. It also deals with marketing and service automation and addresses organisational issues such as organisational roles, customer management structures and stakeholder relationships. Naturally it also covers the technology, with chapters on both marketing and customer related databases and the enterprise approach.
The book has a clear readable business oriented style suitable for a manager or student studying the topic and also benefits from one spot colour to improve the appearance of graphics and headings. Figures have been thoughtfully and professionally prepared.
Francis Buttle is an Australian consultant and his particular range of practical experiences is reflected in a sensible approach.
on 5 January 2010
Francis Buttle's Customer Relationship Management is a gem. This second edition is considerably expanded which sounds scary - but isn't! Exceptionally well-structured and complete, it puts CRM in the place where it belongs: as an important part of the management of a whole company, keeping the pivotal role of the customer in mind. CRM is often treated as a software technicality and therefore fails in companies that have not understood its ramifications. By pinpointing four types of CRM - strategic, operational, analytical and collaborative - the author puts CRM into a proper management context.
Textbooks are often just concepts, models, techniques, claims, flashy success stories and hypes piled on top of each other. Although all its layers are delicious in themselves their interdependence does not stand out. Out comes a sandwich, the type that Dagwood eats in the comic strip Blondie. Buttle of course uses references but he moulds them into a coherent presentation, showing how the bits and pieces stick together. This also reflects his practical business experience. In this sense Customer Relationship Management becomes an original work and a role model for other textbooks. It applies equally well in teaching and research and as a handbook for managers.
Professor, Stockholm University, Sweden