Jill Jusko More firms are adopting customer-relationship management, says a new report from The Conference Board, New York. Fifty-two percent of the 96 global firms surveyed by the business membership and research group reported having implemented a customer-relationship management (CRM) system or solution. Their top three reasons for doing so were:
Increase customer retention/loyalty;
Respond effectively to competitive pressures; and
Differentiate competitively based on customer service superiority. "Customer relationship management is a way to link customer needs with organizational capabilities so that organizations can optimize their marketing investments," says Thomas Bodenberg, senior research associate in The Conference Board's Performance Excellence and Operations Management research group and author of the report, "Customer Relationship Management: New Ways of Keeping the Customer Satisfied." "What our study revealed is that the most successfully managed CRM organizations are those that can realign themselves culturally, improve their technologies and internal operations, and continue their dialogue with their customers," he continues. Bodenberg also suggests that companies' corporate communications and human resources functions deserve larger roles in the implementation and management of CRM systems. Additional survey findings include:
One-quarter of the surveyed firms claim that they have had very successful CRM implementations.
The chief data sources that feed into CRM systems and solutions are customer service inquiries (77%), customer surveys (75%), and sales-force input (71%).
Twenty-eight percent of the survey participants said their enterprise resource planning database is integrated with some aspect of their CRM database. The study was conducted in the late summer and fall of 2000 and early 2001. Approximately 57% of the survey respondents were manufacturing companies.