Survey: Telecom Firms Lead Financial Services in CRM

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Telecommunications companies have developed more sophisticated capabilities around customer satisfaction than financial services companies, according to a study released yesterday by Quadstone, a customer analysis software provider.

Quadstone, Boston, commissioned the study in the spring to look into approaches that large consumer enterprises take to improve customer service experiences. The research consisted of interviews with executives in financial services and telecom. It also included an e-mail questionnaire sent to consumers and a "mystery shopping" investigation into customer service centers.

Mystery shoppers visit or call businesses, posing as ordinary customers. They provide detailed evaluations of their experience using written reports or questionnaires.

The study found that improving customer satisfaction with service is a rapidly rising corporate priority, and companies increasingly invest in tracking customer satisfaction and what drives it to change.

"This study lays out the capabilities companies must develop to fully leverage customer satisfaction data in driving change across the organization," said Rob Bruce, Quadstone vice president. "Large, consumer-driven companies are facing extreme competition. The more sophisticated a company is about how it integrates and applies knowledge gained from measuring customer satisfaction data, the greater its market advantage will be."

The study draws three key conclusions:

· A spectrum of sophistication exists among companies in their ability to understand and leverage customer satisfaction data. It spans three equally divided groups, labeled Laggards, Followers and Leaders.

· Most companies are beginning to understand aggregate-level trends in customer satisfaction. Only a few leading companies can systematically identify how to change service delivery processes for the better, and yet this is what all the interviewed companies most want to accomplish.

· Companies face a definable sequence of challenges to increase the sophistication and efficacy of their approach in using customer satisfaction metrics to drive change through their organizations.

Other findings include:

· All interviewed companies use customer satisfaction surveys to understand more about the service experience they deliver and have increased their investment and commitment to such surveys.

· Nearly all interviewed companies use survey data to calculate their own customer service satisfaction metric to focus and motivate staff.

· Most companies use a balanced scorecard to observe trends over time.

· The perceived challenges facing companies alternate between technical and organizational, depending on the depth of a company's experience in working with customer satisfaction metrics.

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