Your company's Web site creates personalized pages for each customer, the call center's routing system is well streamlined, and the account managers can easily access customer purchasing history. Think you've mastered Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? Think again.
Concerned that enterprises have been overwhelmed in the last several years by the rush to get new CRM technologies up and running, PwC Consulting, the consulting arm of Big Five accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, has announced a new global initiative, CRM ACCEL, to help companies conquer the next frontier in CRM. The acronym CRM ACCEL tells the story: Architecture for Cross-channel Customer Experience and Loyalty.
CRM ACCEL provides the strategy, industry business processes, and pre-integrated technology architecture required for companies to harmonize new and traditional marketing, sales, and service channels. Through real-time integration of front and back office operations and advanced customer analytics, CRM ACCEL helps companies reduce the cost to serve and improves profitability for each customer with one complete CRM program.
"With economic conditions tighter than they've been in decades and customers becoming more demanding than ever, our clients are facing enormous pressure to maximize the returns and overall effectiveness of CRM programs," said Adam Klaber, a partner and the global CRM leader for PwC Consulting. "Our CRM ACCEL offering is the most complete solution available to deliver a consistent, personalized real-time experience. We're able to get to the heart of what CRM is all about -- improving customer loyalty while maintaining profitability."
Unlike competitors, PwC Consulting has developed the first live, end-to-end cross-channel solution. CRM ACCEL features successfully tested technology accelerators and pre-configured interfaces built on a flexible, component-based architecture to address critical channel and legacy system integration issues. This pre-integrated architecture, coupled with advanced solution delivery facilities around the world, enables companies to quickly leapfrog traditional implementation stages and reap the benefits of a comprehensive CRM program in accelerated time. PwC Consulting is working with a variety of technology leaders to deliver CRM ACCEL to clients, including Sun Microsystems, Siebel Systems, CrossWorlds Software, BEA Systems, Avaya, Inc., among others.
Research Underscores Need For Integration
PwC Consulting recently commissioned META Group Consulting to conduct a global CRM survey of international consumers and corporations to explore CRM practices, preferences and maturity. PwC Consulting will publish the complete research findings in November 2001. The survey included international consumers and Global 2000 companies and revealed a number of critical challenges faced by businesses and customers.
- Nearly a third of consumers indicated that the most important aspect when dealing with a company is having a variety of communications channels through which to interact with the company. In contrast, companies appear to be underestimating the desire for channel freedom, ranking it the third on a list of customer interaction features. Consumers indicated they are 60 percent less likely to do business with a company that does not offer their preferred channel.
- The Achilles' heel for CRM is the lack of integration. Corporate respondents reported integration issues need the most improvement over any other existing CRM program. Seventy-four percent reported that back to front office harmony is their biggest priority, and 60% revealed that their cross-channel integration still needs improvement.
- Companies continue to consider increasing customer loyalty the primary objective of their CRM initiatives. Respondents believe that loyalty would increase by 40% if they could deliver consistent customer service across channels. They also ranked retaining existing customers as more important than acquiring new customers.
- "Integrating technology efforts company-wide," and "presenting a consistent face to the customer across channels," were cited by companies as the two most difficult CRM activities to achieve.
"It's clear that without a coherent cross-channel approach, companies succumb to 'split personalities' that send conflicting messages to customers," said Dan Hirschbuehler, lead PwC Consulting partner for the CRM ACCEL initiative. "While integration of CRM processes and technology is one of the hardest things to achieve, data that appears to be meaningful on its own may have no value if it's not being shared. Maintaining channels independently is not only cost-foolish, it ultimately frustrates the customer."
If It's Not ACCEL, It's Not CRM
The PwC Consulting research supports the timeliness of the CRM ACCEL solution and underscores the importance of cross-channel and real-time back office integration. With customer communication exploding across multiple media, from interactive television to wireless devices, the task of collecting, analyzing and successfully applying customer data will become an increasingly complex endeavor with diminishing returns unless a serious effort to orchestrate the process is effected.
CRM ACCEL addresses the essential business and technical issues inherent to creating a consistent customer experience across all channels and is the only CRM solution featuring proven implementation accelerators designed to provide fast and effective solution delivery.
During the design and development of CRM ACCEL, PwC Consulting collaborated with leading industry technology providers. Specific technology components include a Sun hardware platform, Siebel Systems applications for the front-end interaction management layer, CrossWorlds Software business integration solutions, BEA Systems' applications server and portal framework, and Avaya's multi-channel communications solutions and services.
"CRM ACCEL represents a combination of our broad CRM and industry experience in the field, coupled with our extensive process and technology testing," said Mr. Hirschbuehler. "We've taken the experimentation and guess work out of the equation and are providing our clients with a CRM solution that has been tested, works and is ready to help drive value within their organization."
PwC Consulting is currently working on more than 850 CRM engagements globally and is recognized as the most experienced CRM strategist and systems integrator in the industry. Gartner, Inc. has listed the CRM practice of PwC Consulting as a leading CRM service provider for the past three years - the only CRM service provider to be listed as a leader for three consecutive years. During the organization's last fiscal year the CRM group, which consists of 3,600 global practitioners, generated over $1 billion in service revenue
"Without a fail-safe well-integrated CRM solution, customers become guinea pigs each time they attempt to communicate - on an order, a service call, a sale, even to register a complaint," said Mr. Hirschbuehler. "The market is showing that too many points of contact don't necessarily add up to a happy customer experience. Our belief is that with legacy and channel integration, customer relations will soar to new heights."
PwC Consulting is currently demonstrating the CRM ACCEL solution to new and existing clients at the organization's global solution delivery facilities. For further information on PwC Consulting customer relationship management capabilities and the CRM ACCEL solution, you can visit www.pwcconsulting.com/crm-accel.