UK firms highlighted as top CRM success stories

Analyst firm the Aberdeen Group this week released research that identifies the top 12 customer relationship management (CRM)...

Analyst firm the Aberdeen Group this week released research that identifies the top 12 customer relationship management (CRM) success stories in Europe - and five of them are UK-based.

The group, which estimates that European businesses will be investing £6.1bn a year in CRM by 2005, looked at suppliers, system integrators, customers and implementation strategies.

Ute Appelenzer, a research analyst at Aberdeen Group and the report's author, said despite the slowdown in IT spending, CRM projects are still viable.

"Far from defocusing on these types of customer-driven technology projects, companies in Europe are finding real value in CRM software," she said. "At a time like this, when a customer may be thinking twice about buying, good service is even more essential."

The key lesson companies can learn from these successes is to focus on their business processes, Appelenzer said.

"Buying software is one thing, but you have to identify where exactly it is going to fit into your business processes," she said.

Many early CRM implementations proved unsuccessful because of a lack of measurable return on investment. Appelenzer said both suppliers and users now have a more realistic view of what CRM can offer.

"Suppliers are now a lot more focused and they are more able to show how a company can achieve ROI with the software," she said. "This means that companies are more realistic about what they can achieve."

Five UK companies that featured in the European CRM top 12
  • Sytner Group operates 45 full-service car dealerships. Sytner demonstrated that the interplay of multiple channels is crucial to increase market share. The investment has paid off with 10% of all sales inquiries at the contact centre being converted into business

  • Since car rental company Avis implemented eWare's CRM application Avis' productivity has risen by about 10% as it was able to shift eight customer service representatives to other tasks

  • Healthcare provider Western Provident Association pushed customer inquiries to its Web site by implementing a "virtual representative" which answers about 350 queries a day, most of which would otherwise have gone to the contact centre at a cost of between £17 and £25 per call

  • When launching Internet banking, HSBC Bank's priorities were to ensure support to customers and to manage increased e-mail traffic. Using an e-mail-based customer service application, it reduced customer support agent time from 15 minutes to three minutes per inquiry

  • Healthcare company Bupa implemented an end-to-end sales software package. The lead conversion rate increased from 10 % to 50%.

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