SYDNEY--Australian businesses may have been scared away from spending more money on customer support because initial projects have delivered too little, too late, for too much.
So says David Paddon, the local VP for Europe-based CRM group Altitude Software.
Paddon believes most customer relationship management strategies in Australia have failed to deliver timely customer support due to poor integration between communication channels.
He acknowledged that most major corporations now offered customer support via telephone, email and fax. But he said queries lodged via one channel were too often inaccessible to support staff operating via another.
Paddon said companies that had implemented data-driven customer relationship outposts--such as Internet-driven support centers--had not taken the necessary measures to integrate new technologies with "traditional" telephone support.
Conversely, companies that conducted customer support via telephone, including most major telcos, had failed to ensure that email support was adequately integrated with call center support.
Paddon believes Australian corporations are weary of spending money on integrating their customer communication channels because most initial CRM implementations have been finished late and over budget.
IT managers were only interested in forking out more cash for customer relationship strategies if cost benefits were likely to appear within 12 months, Paddon said.
"CEOs are seeing risks with the big multi-year projects," he said. "People want to know what their software will do for them now."
Paddon said globally, 95 percent of customer interaction was still conducted by voice channels, with 66 percent directly via call centers.
Only 2 percent of customer interaction was conducted via the Internet, he said.
Companies which had invested only in Internet-based support centers were "not addressing the bulk of their interactions with clients," he said.