CRM investment returns found lacking in survey

More than half of respondents in a recent survey of 'high-level' service and support executives reported seeing no measurable ROI (return on investment) from their CRM (customer relationship management) systems in the past year.

          More than half of respondents in a recent survey of "high-level" service and support executives reported seeing no measurable ROI (return on investment) from their CRM (customer relationship management) systems in the past year.

          But a spokeswoman for the organisations that did the survey said the newness of CRM implementations, combined with the high costs, may have contributed to the lack of returns thus far.

          "First of all, some companies are still in the beginning stages of implementing the technology, and since the technology itself is fairly expensive, they may not have yet seen any cost savings," says Carolyn Healey, publisher of the supportindustry.com and crmindustry.com informational portals, which conducted the survey of executives.

          Costs can vary based on the type of system, Healey notes. CRM implementations can range from those developed by Siebel, which makes multifaceted systems, to email management packages, she says.

          In response to the question, "Has your organisation seen a measurable return on investment from implementing CRM?" 39 respondents, or 55.7% of those that answered the question, said no, while 31 respondents, or 44.3%, said yes.

          Of 83 respondents to a question about marketplaces, 62 respondents, or 74.7%, said their company was in the business-to-business marketplace while 15 respondents, or 18.1%, said they were in the business-to-consumer arena. The remaining 6 respondents, or 7.2%, were affiliated with the government marketplace.

          Sixty-three respondents, or 75.9%, said they either already had implemented or planned to implement a CRM system in their organisation within the next 12 months.

          Increasing customer loyalty was cited as the No. 1 goal of CRM implementations, with 49 respondents, or 23.3%, citing this reason. Increasing employee productivity received the second-highest number of responses, with 39 respondents, or 18.6%.

          Also in the survey:

          • 40.3%, or 27 respondents, plan to support wireless users in their CRM projects.
          • Budget constraints were cited as the biggest internal challenge to implementing CRM, with 26.5%, or 18 respondents, naming them.
          • Only 44.3%, or 31 respondents, had a formal plan for measuring the success of their CRM implementations.

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