Steven Murphy’s impressive PR machine at Brunswick has pulled off another coup for him. The Financial Times offers a story about auction houses keeping up with advances in tech. The story itself doesn’t offer much revelation but it does put Murphy at the center of it.
Christie’s has created a CRM platform much like any bank or real estate sales operation to try to centralize (and control) client information better and not be at the mercy of a staff that may depart:
Christie’s now has James Map (as in founder James Christie), a sort of private internal social network that allows specialists, client service staff, support staff and executives to see what is known about a client and his tastes. Past auction records, relatives’ purchases and sales, statistical inferences on how likely clients are to move from buying an expensive watch online to participating in a high-end evening sale – it all can be in the mix.
The idea, Murphy explains, was “to create an internal app that spiders into our database of information and brings up on our internal [screen] environment lots of connectivity. This is faster and better than the email chains [that it replaced].”
Perhaps more interesting and significant is the way the company is trying to make it easier to get lower-value objects vetted by the right person:
Auction houses used to regard the sale of smaller, cheaper objects from, for example, estate liquidations as an annoying loss-leader business that just wasted their specialists’ time. Now, however, many are making money selling objects for $2,000-$3,000; it’s just a matter of cutting transaction costs. “We have a new app with which you can take a picture, push a button, and it goes to a specialist, with a description. Then the specialist can decide if it might fit into an auction,” says Citron.