If a customer with $US2 million in assets calls a bank to ask about a home equity loan, the bank wants to steer him to its very best mortgage broker.
But if a customer has only $100 in his account and has just declared bankruptcy, the bank will let him talk to a low-paid temp.
That's the idea behind customer relationship management (CRM), a market estimated by analysts to grow to $US2 billion this year and to nearly $US3.5 billion by 2001.
To tap that demand, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), the $US15 billion systems integrator and outsourcer, is teaming up with a 100-person software company to offer large companies a better way to track and serve their customers.
Under the alliance announced last week, Centrobe, a business unit within EDS, will link its dbIntellect data mining tools to Chordiant Software's Customer Communications Solution software.
Chordiant's software integrates activities such as customer profiling, managing telemarketing campaigns and even billing and transaction processing.
With precise knowledge of customers when they call in, a customer management system can prompt sales representatives to offer customers certain products and determine the speed and quality of the service the customers receive.
Along with providing its data mining tools, EDS' Centrobe will do systems integration and business consulting for target customers, which are large companies in the financial services and telecommunications fields, company officials said. A typical implementation, involving at least 250 seats, will cost customers between $US5 million and $US25 million.