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Business managers worldwide believe that their company’s number one business issue is customer relationships. They value innovations that support improvements in customer experience, and they paint a picture of corporate cultures that prioritize customers.
So why is it that their actions don’t always support this belief? Despite the good intentions, companies often fail to back their beliefs in enhancing customer relationships with investments in IT and human capital initiatives. Many focus instead on operational improvements that provide a clearer impact on the bottom line.
While 55 percent of respondents in a recent Microsoft survey said that the top business issue for their organization was customer relationships, only 32 percent selected customer relationships as the top priority for IT spending. Similarly, only 35 percent selected it as the top priority for human capital investments.
So What’s Going On Here? In the Microsoft view, the main reasons for lack of IT investment in support of customer relationships are:
- Lack of discipline. Many organizations don’t have corporation-wide programs, leadership, metrics in place, or even a clear customer experience strategy. Instead, they have siloed customer experiences, have industry tunnel vision, and inward-focused product development.
- Path of least resistance. Most project teams find it easier to build a business case for technology and human capital investments that result in operational efficiency than to justify improvements in customer relationships. It is easier to calculate the ROI of shortened cycle times or reallocated headcount, for example, than it is to quantify an increase in customer satisfaction or customer retention.
- Shades of CRM. Many business and IT executives do not feel that the business benefits achieved with CRM investments meet their expectations, or that they are able to quickly realize value from the applications.
What is your view towards investments in CRM based software and the development of the appropriate processes supporting an understanding of gaining insight into your customer experience? Do you have any insight to share about the success at your own organization?