Survey Says: CRM spending drops…and shifts to self-service

eVergance recently conducted our latest industry study looking at the state of customer service and support, with a focus on multi-channel adoption and trends, shifting priorities and where organizations continue to invest despite challenging economic conditions. As part of this, we surveyed 29 customer service leaders in the US and Europe, representing a diverse set of large enterprises in the high-tech, financial, telecom, travel and retail sectors. Some highlights:

  • Companies are cutting back, with 3/4 of the survey respondents reporting lower spending on CRM or customer service this year, but perhaps surprisingly more than 20% indicated that the economy has had no impact on their spending plans this year.
  • The economy has also caused 64% of respondents to focus more on self-service, while nearly 90% of leaders surveyed said that they can show business value or at least have some evidence of the ROI for their Web self-service efforts to-date (see chart below).  What are companies who say they can show business value for self-service using for metrics?  Deflection (ah, our old friend), Completion or Conversion rates for customers using SS vs other channels, and Customer Sat are 3 of the ones most frequently mentioned.
  • Despite evidence of lower spending overall, knowledge management, call center hardware, customer analytics, CDI and social CRM/community (in that order) are all areas that were mentioned by at least 1/4 of respondents as areas which may see additional spending this year.  Interestingly, a couple of these areas (analytics and communities) are also on Gartner’s “Five CRM strategies that companies can undertake now” list published back in May.

SS ROI chart

We’ll admit the sample size for our survey is small, but the data is pretty interesting nonetheless, especially since survey participants were mostly at the Director, VP or higher up in their organization.  The global economic climate has impacted spending for sure, but rather than reductions across the board, it’s apparent that funding is being reallocated and even increased in some customer-facing areas like KM, customer analytics and social CRM.

How has the economy affected your plans this year?  Is improving your customer experience still a priority, or has cost-savings (at least temporarily) taken center stage?  We’d love to hear your comments.  And if you’d like to get a copy of the Executive Summary of our study results, drop me a line!