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Organisations still struggle with their customer strategy

NCC Media Release

From the National Computing Centre, Manchester, UK. 5th September 2011

The acid test for all IT systems is whether they deliver the benefits that were initially expected. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have had a mixed history - and in the perception of users, this is still the case.

Nearly a third of organisations (32%) view their CRM systems as being only partially successful and delivering only limited benefits, while 8% see them as unsuccessful with no major benefits delivered. That’s according to the latest NCC Research study commissioned by the Evaluation Centre (

Only 5% of the respondents think their CRM systems have successfully delivered all the expected benefits, and 30% feel that while some business benefits have been achieved, they have fallen short in a number of areas.

This shortfall may be partly explained by the finding that only 35% of the companies have defined an over-arching customer management strategy, irrespective of any technology systems deployed. This lack of direction is despite the fact that the majority of respondents (72%) see having an effective customer management strategy as much more important than three years ago.

Steve Fox, NCC Managing Director, commented: “CRM needs to represent a business strategy that ultimately commits the business to being driven by the customer and to becoming a fully customer-centric organisation. That way CRM technology becomes an enabler to deliver profitable value to customers through the understanding and anticipation of their needs.”

There are many different ways now to communicate with customers, and the internet has changed this significantly over the past few years. Many companies now make use of social networking sites both to promote and gather feedback on their products and services.

Half the organisations in the survey make use of social network sites, while 48% offer online feedback for customers to express their views. Online communities have been created by 41%, and 38% use blogs to provide information and comment. Business network sites are being used by 34%, SMS messaging by 22% while just 2% have user forums.

Customers can now also purchase goods or interact with a company via a number of different channels, such as phone, internet, retail outlets and other methods. This makes it increasingly difficult for organisations to keep track of all customer interactions, yet it is vital that this is done so they have a clear understanding of their relationship with a customer.

Having this single view of the customer has become something of a holy grail – yet only 3% of companies say they have been ‘very successful’ in achieving it and just 8% ‘successful’. A further 40% say they have been ‘moderately successful’, 22% have had ‘little success’ and 7% no success at all.

Survey statistics

We surveyed a broad cross-section of over 100 organisations for this year’s report into CRM applications and trends. The sample included companies from local government (18%) IT & telecoms (18%), business services (11%), leisure & tourism (7%), banking & finance (7%) and retail (6%).

The companies vary in size, with 5% having in excess of £5 billion turnover, 10% in the £1 billion to £5 billion bracket and 27% in the £250 million to £1 billion range.

In the mid-market, 17% have between £100 million and £250 million turnover and 13% £50 million to £100 million. At the smaller end 18% have a turnover of between £10 million and £50 million and 10% £5 million to £10 million.

The survey is available from


About The National Computing Centre (NCC)

The National Computing Centre (NCC) is an independent organisation that helps IT decision makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices.

About the Evaluation Centre

The Evaluation Centre ( is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

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National Computing Centre
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