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Third of businesses increasing CRM investment - report

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23rd Sep 2010
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Almost a third of UK organisations expect to increase their investment in CRM systems over the year ahead in a bid to improve consumer satisfaction and provide sales and marketing staff with better customer information.

A further 38% anticipate that expenditure on their CRM systems will remain at current levels, while only 16% believe budgets will drop. These are the findings of a survey undertaken among 100 UK organisations by the National Computing Centre (NCC).

The study also revealed that a third of respondents are either tweaking or adding to their existing CRM systems, while 44% plan to do so in future. But it is unclear whether such activity is taking place despite or because of the success of such applications so far in meeting expectations.

A mere 11% of those questioned said that they had been very successful in realising the promised benefits, while 6% indicated that they had seen no major benefits at all. A further 33% professed that they had achieved only partial success, while a further third said they had seen some real gains.

Steve Fox, managing director of the NCC’s evaluation centre, said: "Over the years, both users and suppliers have learned many lessons the hard way. But to be successful, CRM needs to represent a business strategy – this should encompass both the strategic and operational aspects and all the necessary business processes."

They key reasons on a scale of one to five for organisations to implement CRM systems, with five indicating the most important, was improving customer satisfaction and providing sales and marketing staff with better strategic information (4.3 respectively). Attracting new customers (4.1) was also considered more important than retaining existing ones (3.9).

To this end, 55% of those questioned had created online communities to provide information to and gain feedback from customers, while the same number were using blogs to provide information and comment.

Some 45% were also employing both business and social networking sites to interact with consumers, while 41% were offering online feedback mechanisms to enable customers to express their views. Only 9% were using SMS channels, however, while a mere 5% had introduced user forums.

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