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Bodged customer programmes costing brands £750k a year

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13th May 2014
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81% of customer management programmes are currently failing, costing businesses up to £750,000 a year, according to new global research from communications provider, Avaya. 

The study, based on survey responses from 1,268 businesses and 8,500 consumers in 13 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas, also found that European businesses were lagging behind the US, China and India in terms of implementing customer management programmes or putting the necessary elements in place to make them work.

European businesses “place less importance on managing the customer experience”, the research states, citing that 83% of Chinese businesses and 73% of US businesses claim to currently have a customer management programme in place, compared with only 55% of UK and German businesses respectively.

To add to this, in India, three-quarters of business manager respondents say customer experience management is very important, compared with just 59% in the US, 39% in the UK and 33% in Germany.

“Lacklustre customer service is inexcusable in a digital world where customers are king,” says Garry Veale, president of Avaya in Europe. “When it is so closely linked with customer loyalty and increased profits, and with cost-effective and easy-to-implement software and services available to companies of all sizes, there really is no excuse for not having a comprehensive programme in place.”

A number of issues evidently remain for those that do have customer management programmes in place, however, with four-fifths of those organisations reporting customer initiatives ‘failing’ in the last three years. In those cases, survey respondents claimed they had reported costs to the business of up to £750,000 a year, with £100,000 a year cited as the average annual loss across the US, UK and Australian regions.

In addition to losing money, businesses reporting failed customer initiatives said there was evidence to suggest they were missing out on increased customer satisfaction (68%), loyalty (64%), retention (59%) and repeat purchasing (56%).

One of the chief reasons for the programme failures was stated as an absence of appropriate technology to assist and tie-up departments across organisations, with 31% of respondents citing this issue. A further 37% say they are being held back by the fact that different parts of the business own the customer experience. 

The good news is, for those businesses that claimed to have successful customer management programmes, 81% stated they had seen significant profit increases in the last 12 months as a result. 

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By 70 Fathoms
15th May 2014 11:44

70 Fathoms are experienced in this area. The strapline is "sales operations and marketing operations consultants, who help businesses make changes to their sales and marketing processes and technology – thereby increasing efficiency, effectiveness and alignment with strategic goals" (sorry - end of advert).

But what we often find is that organisations are happy to document requirements, select the right software, implement the CRM system, but comprehensively fail to communicate to all of their staff about progress, problems, solutions and how the system will affect them when it is installed.

There seems no excuse for this as we provide them with a template of what to communicate, to whom, when and how, but our consultants often find that the comms process is being forgotten, delayed or postponed until it is too late.

Adoption seems to be a problem which is often addressed too late in the process and there is often a rush to solve adoption problems once the system is up and running. Listen to your consultants, they are the CRM experts. Its what you are paying them for and they don't want you to fail.

Their value comes from our deep knowledge of both marketing, sales and the implementation of the technology that supports these functions.

What the software suppliers won't tell you is that its your organisation, processes, people and culture which are the limiting factor, so I beg you - address adoption as early as possible and let people know as much as possible about the project, so they know what is coming and have already partially adopted it before the training starts. Drive the aoption through your management team thoroughly and ensure they feel responsible for success. You'll be one of the 19% who succeed and profit from their customer management programme.

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