PwC Consulting introduces global multichannel CRM initiative
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Your company’s website creates personalized pages for each customer, the call center’s routing system is well streamlined and the account managers can easily access customer purchasing history. Think you’ve mastered CRM? Think again.

PwC Consulting, has announced a new global initiative, CRM Accel, to help companies conquer the next frontier in CRM. The origin behind CRM Accel tells the story: Architecture for Cross-channel Customer Experience and Loyalty.

CRM Accel provides the strategy, industry business processes and pre-integrated technology architecture required for companies to harmonize new and traditional marketing, sales and service channels. Through real-time integration of front and back office operations and advanced customer analytics, CRM Accel helps companies reduce the cost to serve and improves profitability for each customer with one complete CRM program.

The live, end-to-end cross-channel solution features technology accelerators and pre-configured interfaces built on a flexible, component-based architecture. This pre-integrated architecture enables companies to leapfrog traditional implementation stages.

PwC Consulting is working with a variety of technology leaders to deliver Accel to Sun Microsystems, Siebel Systems, CrossWorlds Software, BEA Systems, and Avaya, Inc.

The Need For Integration
PwC Consulting recently commissioned Meta Group Consulting to conduct a global survey of international consumers and corporations to explore CRM practices, preferences and maturity. It revealed a number of critical challenges faced by businesses and customers.

• Nearly a third of consumers indicated that the most important aspect when dealing with a company is having a variety of communications channels through which to interact with the company. In contrast, companies appear to be underestimating the desire for channel freedom, ranking it the third on a list of customer interaction features. Consumers indicated they are 60% less likely to do business with a company that does not offer their preferred channel.

• The Achilles’ heel for CRM is the lack of integration. Corporate respondents reported integration issues need the most improvement over any other existing CRM program. Seventy-four percent reported that back to front office harmony is their biggest priority, and 60% revealed that their cross-channel integration still needs improvement.

• Companies continue to consider increasing customer loyalty the primary objective of their CRM initiatives. Respondents believe that loyalty would increase by 40% if they could deliver consistent customer service across channels. They also ranked retaining existing customers as more important than acquiring new customers.

• “Integrating technology efforts company-wide”, and “presenting a consistent face to the customer across channels", were cited by companies as the two most difficult CRM activities to achieve.

“It’s clear that without a coherent cross-channel approach, companies succumb to ‘split personalities’ that send conflicting messages to customers,” said Dan Hirschbuehler, lead PwC Consulting partner for the CRM Accel initiative.

“While integration of CRM processes and technology is one of the hardest things to achieve, data that appears to be meaningful on its own may have no value if it’s not being shared. Maintaining channels independently is not only cost-foolish, it ultimately frustrates the customer.”

The research underscores the importance of cross-channel and real-time back office integration. With customer communication exploding across multiple media, from interactive television to wireless devices, the task of collecting, analyzing and successfully applying customer data will become an increasingly complex endeavor with diminishing returns unless a serious effort to orchestrate the process is effected.

During the design and development of Accel, PwC Consulting collaborated with leading industry technology providers. Specific technology components include a Sun hardware platform, Siebel Systems applications for the front-end interaction management layer, CrossWorlds Software business integration solutions, BEA Systems’ applications server and portal framework, and Avaya’s multi-channel communications solutions and services.

“CRM Accel represents a combination of our broad CRM and industry experience in the field, coupled with our extensive process and technology testing,” said Hirschbuehler. “We’ve taken the experimentation and guess work out of the equation and are providing our clients with a CRM solution that has been tested, works and is ready to help drive value within their organization.”

PwC Consulting

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