Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gaining a complete, single view of the customer is very important but rarely achieved among firms

In to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by SAP, eighty-six percent of respondents agree that customer relationship management (CRM) is important to their companies. Yet only 5% of respondents claim to have single, all-around view of their customers. The data shows that while companies understand the importance of collecting customer data and improving customer service, few have been able to do a good job in these areas.

Other key findings in the study conclude that more than 40% of respondents admit their firms do not have a formal CRM strategy in place. Of those that do, 44% have seen “acceptable” results from their efforts; while another 22% say CRM has been a disappointment. The survey polled executives of various industries and company sizes from around the globe on their experiences and opinions relating to their CRM strategies. Much of the problem is that most companies lack an enterprise-wide strategy. Nearly one-quarter of respondents say that CRM is driven by individual departments and only 23% can claim their CRM efforts are led by a C-level executive outside the information technology department.

Additional key findings of the survey include:

Metrics for CRM success may be misaligned. Companies adopt CRM to increase marketing effectiveness (51%), improve service delivery (48%) or drive new revenue (47%). But companies most often gauge CRM success largely according to overall customer satisfaction (49%) and retention (42%)—wholly different metrics. More than 17% do not measure CRM success at all.

Increased spending on CRM initiatives could improve results. More than 70% say they will spend more or significantly more money on CRM over the next three years. This presents an opportunity to improve data-sharing between departments, although most companies say that spending increases are likely to go toward sales (56%), customer service/support (51%) and marketing (45%), rather than systems integration.

CRM needs executive leadership. Nearly 60% of companies that describe their CRM efforts as disappointing cite a lack of executive sponsorship as a major obstacle to CRM success, compared with 9% of those whose efforts have been successful.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

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