Companies are still struggling with the basics of CRM, according to a new report from Dimension Data, which surveyed over 200 contact centres across the world.
Dimension Data’s Merchants Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report found that more than 75 per cent of call centres say they still haven’t pulled off a single view of their customers across all touch-points. But it is corporate culture rather than failed technology that is undermining the success of CRM roll outs.
In particular, over 70 per cent of call centre cited "coordinating across departments" as a major stumbling block, followed by 37 per cent who were concerned with integrating the technology with legacy systems,data integration" and "raining call centre agents".
Significanly only 21 per cent of call centres have become profit centres, a figure actually down from the level of 23 per cent last year. Adding to the bad news, less than half of organisations are able to use customer segmentation to tailor their contact strategies, and less than twenty per cent are able to measure the lifetime value of their customers.
On a day to day basis, customers are waiting up to 25 per cent longer before having their calls answered by contact centre agent. The number of calls answered within 10 seconds by an agent has also decreased. Less than 60 per cent of call centres achieved this widely accepted "best practice" speed-to-answer standard in 2003, a decrease from over 70 per cent in 1999. Customers based in the US fare the worst with only 43 per cent of calls being answered within 10 seconds compared to 70 per cent in Europe, 59 per cent in Africa and 58 per cent in Asia-Pacific.
Email is even worse. The report reveals that the average time a business takes to respond to an e-mail enquiry is 22.2 hours compared to a nine-hour wait for a callback to a voicemail message. This prioritisation of telephone communications does not bode well for those multi-channel centres that aim to encourage customers to use less expensive email channels.
Mike Fairon, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Customer Interactive Solutions (CIS) at Dimension Data, comments: "This trend of making customers wait longer in queues is a worrying one, which does nothing to enhance the reputation of the call centre industry. Customers appear to be bearing the brunt of budget restraints and reduced investment. This is a false economy as businesses need to understand the long-term impact of keeping customers waiting is that they run the risk of losing them."