CRM vendors are failing to support pan-European customer service strategies, with many vendors still cost cutting on localising software.The latest report from AMR research found demand for localised CRM software in Europe is high, yet few vendors offer fully localised products modified to cater for different languages, diverse cultural expectations and time zone delays. According to the report, pan-European companies face the dilemma of opting for a tried and tested US brand name application modified for the European market, or an unknown offering from one of many newly established European vendors. Gerry Brannar, a CRM consultant with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, claimed the emphasis on speed to market resulted in many companies implementing inadequate systems. "Customers see speed to market as critical. But it sometimes means you don't make the ideal choice," he said. However, he predicted that European customers would continue to play safe and choose the experience of high-profile US vendors, regardless of localisation issues. "The big players have been tried and tested, not just in CRM, but also across vertical solutions. Nothing is perfect, but they have the capability to refine different solutions and to implement in specific vertical markets. That is something small software houses cannot do." Steve Morrell, a research analyst with Datamonitor, claimed the biggest problems for pan-European CRM does not stem from software configurations, but a simple shortage of technically trained, native speaking staff. He said: "The main problem is with technical support. There is a shortage of staff in every country across Europe. The number of technical requests has gone through the roof and these are the longest calls." He suggested the traditional centralised call centre will be supplemented by regionalised centres, located in areas where there is a pool of skilled staff. "Local centres will be the first line of defence in pan-European CRM. You need to find out where the skilled people are and take the call centre to them," he said.