Call centres ‘not optimising’ CRM investments

Contact centres are not optimising their customer relationship management practices, according to a new survey.


Contact centres are not optimising their customer relationship management practices, according to a new survey.

The percentage of centres with a single customer view has decreased to 34 percent, from 39 percent ten years ago, painting a grim picture of CRM use according to the ‘Global Contact Centre Benchmarking’ report. The paper includes survey responses from 300 contact centres in 36 countries around the world, and was created by IT services firm Datacraft.

In addition, in 1997 many organisations stated their intention to deploy a more sophisticated set of customer metrics, including customer lifetime value and profitability, within their contact centres. But less than 10 percent of centres now have the capability to measure lifetime value, and only 18 percent use customer profitability as a metric.

Another key CRM indicator is the deployment of 'trigger events' within inbound contact centres, involving the initiation of outbound customer contact as a result of an inbound call such as a customer complaint or an inquiry. Only 21 percent of contact centres actively engage in this type of customer management activity.

Karina Majid, a general manager for Customer Interactive Solutions at Datacraft, said: "Minimal progress has been made in adopting a more customer-oriented, CRM-based approach within the contact centre environment over the last 10 years. When we compared this year's findings with those from our inaugural 1997 Report, the picture is not positive."

"This is also reflected in the commercial drivers of contact centres. Only 16 percent of participating centres ranked 'creating direct customer relationships' among their top three commercial drivers, compared with over 50 percent 10 years ago. This underscores that there has been a major shift away from the tenets of CRM over the last decade."

Call resolution is one of the strongest indicators of customer service improvement, according to the report. Some 38 percent of contact centre managers polled believe that a contact centre agent's ability to resolve a query during the first call is the most important factor in service improvement. In addition, the time the customer waits before the call is answered had the second greatest impact on service improvement, and agent communication and service skills were ranked third.

Contact centres still rely on the standard efficiency metrics, the report stated. Abandon rate is the most commonly used target with 90.1 percent of participating centres using it as a key metric, while only 63.4 percent of centres use First Call Resolution as a performance target.

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