“Much of this apathy relates to a simple lack of understanding of the benefits of CRM, not to mention basic functionality,” said Bill Clough, senior research analyst with IDC’s European ERM and CRM Applications research program. “Now that companies are going to be a bit more careful with their IT budgets, and less driven by the ‘first mover’ or ‘early adopter’ messages, it will take even more effort on the part of software vendors to educate the market about the real needs that are met with CRM solutions.”
The value and benefits of CRM seem ambiguous to many respondents. Although most identified with the benefit of improving customer service processes, many completely missed the possibility of key advantages such as customer acquisition and retention. “In tightening economic markets, when businesses begin to focus less on the latest technologies and more on what solves real problems and cost issues, these two benefits are not receiving the attention they deserve,” Clough said.
Despite widespread media coverage and extensive software vendor marketing campaigns, the overall impression is that end users remain uncertain, if not suspicious, about the qualities and benefits of CRM technology.
Overall, CRM technology has not taken the world quite by the storm that many expected. IDC’s survey shows the response to CRM technology varies by country and industry. While some of these variations were expected, others were not.
Only 36% of French respondents claimed to be using CRM software, while in the UK and Italy, 53% said they were using the technology. The European average was 46%. “End users in the largest economic zones appear most apprehensive about CRM technology. German and French respondents in particular rated CRM as a ‘no need’ among a long list of possible technologies,” said Clough.