Creating the Insight-Driven Customer Experience

While many businesses recently had to make cost containment a priority, many also continued spending a considerable amount on developing customer relationships - often, to protect the value of the existing customer base at a time when growth opportunities were limited or risky. Interestingly, despite the high failure rates widely reported, even quite recently, many CRM investments have, over time, created genuine value - in particular, by streamlining customer-facing business processes and helping organizations operate more cost-effectively.

In fact, organizations are increasingly adept at implementing CRM projects and report higher rates of on-time, on-budget and in-scope implementations. Yet there s still work to be done. Most recent CRM programs focused on point solutions - automating sales functions, for example, or implementing an advanced database marketing capability, and consequently produce equally narrow benefits. With a brighter economy causing more companies to refocus, from cost containment to revenue generation, many will soon encounter the limits of their current customer strategies and operational capabilities. To continue their journey toward becoming truly customer centric, many organizations will now need to break through a broad array of challenges - strategic and operational. For example: Customer segmentation and analysis are often overly simplistic. Recent budget cuts and workforce reductions, however, prevent a more granular and insightful approach New electronic channels have provided less costly options for customer interaction. They have also helped fragment messages - and even the brand itself - across multiple channels owned by different departments or business units Organizational barriers often prevent better alignment around a central customer strategy and operating model. The executive who owns the customer loyalty program, for example, does not always own the customer channels and For now, CRM is still a multivendor game. Creating a cross-enterprise solution to these issues typically requires extensive integration efforts and custom-built functionality, at a hefty price. In short, CRM has matured considerably, but a piecemeal approach to developing the customer franchise still prevents many from fully - and cost-effectively - realizing their strategic objectives: increased loyalty, enhanced revenue and expanded share. Some organizations are also seeking ways to turn existing CRM capabilities into competitive differentiators that will spur growth - no simple task. It will require a deep knowledge of current customer needs and preferences and the ability to predict future customer behavior. More challenging still, it will require unifying sales, marketing and service capabilities around a central customer strategy and possibly acquiring more advanced capabilities in these areas. Operationally, the challenges are also stiff. A growth agenda means launching new products and services quickly and boosting workforce effectiveness and productivity. It depends on a single, integrated customer data source, readily accessed by decision-makers throughout the organization. It requires infusing sales and services practices with customer insight. It may also require exploring alternative operating models, such as outsourcing or on-demand computing. While economic prospects seem brighter now, don t expect companies to revert to the days of unchecked IT spending. Managers will remain pressured to contain the cost of technology ownership and minimize the duration and complexity of new CRM initiatives - even while scaling capabilities to meet new enterprise requirements. Source and full article: www.datawarehouse.coma>