BOSTON -- CRM management consultancy Peppers & Rogers detailed its latest research on the elusive art of realizing return-on-investment (ROI) on customer relationship management projects. The game plan centers on organizational consistency, customer interaction and development of key indicators to identify unprofitable sore spots.
At a presentation held in Boston last week, Paula Puleo, a partner at the Norwalk, Conn.-based consultancy, offered seven tips for CRM users to improve their prospects for achieving ROI. They are:
- Identifying customers consistently across the organization.
- Differentiating customers according to their value to the organization and what they need from the organization.
- Interacting with customers in a two-way manner.
- Customizing the customer experience both profitably and in a way that is relevant to customer needs.
- Examining the culture of the company, and focus on employee training and awareness around customer goals.
- Leveraging existing technology and information.
- Building metrics across all the above areas to measure overall impact.
"The challenge is to maintain value as the driver of your project, to overlay needs and build strategies that let you know how you're actually interfacing with customers," Puleo said. "Even the most creative customer facing Web sites are often a one-way proposition."
Puleo compared many CRM implementations to the process of hand signals employed by bellboys at one of the consultant's hotelier customers. Rather than knowing if you've been to the chains' hotels before by accessing an enterprise CRM system, the bellboy asks if you've visited before. If so, he signals the check-in attendant with a wave of his hand to greet you with an appreciative "welcome back." The consultant said this kind of rudimentary practice is still overstepping technological CRM as companies struggle to recognize customer value.
"Interactivity is essential to getting the whole CRM formula right," she said. "What we're finding out in particular in the world of business-to-business, is that there is still uncertainty as to what is driving value, costs and customers' real needs."
Making its latest stop in Boston, the meeting drew end-user attendees that ranged from CRM veterans to aspiring adopters, all with an interest in maximizing their investment in enterprise technologies. A number of local consultants were also spread out throughout the crowd.
For its part, Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft used the venue as an opportunity to flaunt the functionality of its own CRM offering, advocating a "move beyond the front office" through the integration points and analytics featured in its 8.4 version, to be replace by an 8.8 release sometime during Q4 of this year.
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