It happens surprisingly often that one ecounters such appalling customer experience you think we cannot possibly get it that wrong (e.g. Stefan’s post). The perils of failing to realise the benefits of CRM are well documented yet still the temptation is to think (to coin an ill-considered slogan) "how hard can it be". The answer continues to be frequently very hard indeed as reveal by this recent survey into UK banking use of CRM:

Back to the Department of No Surprises again this week with the release of a study by Datamonitor and Siebel …. According to the survey, no UK banks show any visibility into previous customer interactions from related communication channels or made any attempt to cross-sell related banking products during the course of the customer interaction.

Some 86 per cent of UK banks fail to capture the customer’s basic contact information for identification or follow-up, while 79 per cent make no attempt to understand the features the customer was interested in before making product recommendations. Over a quarter – 28 per cent – of UK banks fail to respond to customer enquiries…..

Datamonitor recommends going back to basics and re-examining entire customer service structures and strategies. It does sound like good advice. But there are so many entrenched legacy systems in place within banks and financial services institutions that it’s a daunting task. Maybe – to borrow a current advertising slogan – CRM is for new customers only when it comes to the banking sector…

The rest of the article can be read here (but you may have to register, possibly worth it – I think it is quite an interesting site).

The point ofcourse is that our challenge is not to invest in Siebel – it is to develop a clear, cross-channel understanding of customer need, and then communicate it to death. The days of blaming antiquated customer service on old, inflexible legacy systems are numbered and new systems will only be the answer if we have properly defined the question.