Report: CRM practices only partially established in global contact center industry

14 Aug 2008

In the global contact center industry, estimated to be worth some US $130 billion per annum, organizations are not optimizing the value of their investments in customer relationship management (CRM) practices.

This is one of the findings in the 2008 Datacraft / Dimension Data Global Contact center Benchmarking Report, which includes survey responses from 300 contact centers in 36 countries across five continents. This year's report confirms that only a minority of contact centers have established CRM practices and capabilities.

'Minimal progress has been made in adopting a more customer-oriented, CRM-based approach within the contact center environment over the last 10 years. When we compared this year's findings with those from our inaugural 1997 Report, the picture is not positive,' said Karina Majid, Datacraft Asia's general manager for customer interactive solutions.

A key CRM indicator is the establishment of a single view of the customer. Ten years ago, 39% of participating contact centers already possessed this capability, with a further 45% of centers planning to implement a single view within the following two years. However, this year's results show that the percentage of centers with a single customer view has decreased to 34%.

Another key CRM indicator is the deployment of "Ëœtrigger events' within inbound customer service contact centers. These involve the initiation of an outbound customer contact as a result of the nature or outcome of an inbound call. These trigger events usually relate to either customer dissatisfaction, retention of a customer or a policy, or new revenue generation such as an inbound inquiry about a policy surrender. According to this year's report, only 21% of contact centers actively engage in this type of customer management activity.

'These findings indicate that the development of a more holistic and sophisticated approach to customer management is less of a priority than it was 10 years ago, and there is a back-to-basics trend with contact centers focusing more on basic performance efficiencies and cost reduction,' adds Majid. 'This is also reflected in the commercial drivers of contact centers. Only 16% of participating centers ranked "Ëœcreating direct customer relationships' among their top three commercial drivers, compared with over 50% 10 years ago. This underscores that there has been a major shift away from the tenets of CRM over the last decade.'

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