CRM: The Challenges We've Had; Our Issues Today - Part 1 Of 3 recently asked me what my thoughts were about CRM: Why initial CRM projects failed, what has now changed to make deployments successful, and what the future holds for CRM. Here is the first part of my point of view, as well as a link to a series of three published articles from


Question: Nearly a decade ago, estimates suggested that a very large proportion of CRM projects were failing. What were the main problems undermining CRM projects in those days?

Answer: The main problems undermining CRM projects a decade ago were mismatched expectations with reality in three categories: technology, process and people.

The first CRM systems were not fully baked and had large feature holes that were not always communicated to the purchaser. The technology was not intuitive or easy to use. It was hard to implement with long time-to-value and hard to become proficient in its use. It was even harder to change the business processes that had been implemented — changes that were necessary to stay in line with evolving business needs.

CRM systems were also difficult to integrate with a company’s IT ecosystem, which meant that many actions needed to be repeated in multiple systems. (For example, consider a CRM system that was not integrated into a company’s email system. This means that a sales person would have to cut and paste a customer communication from their email correspondence into the CRM system, which was labor intensive and often not done. )

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Introducing Forrester’s Online Customer Service Functionality Benchmark

Forrester has launched the Online Customer Service Functionality Benchmark, a new tool to help eBusiness professionals assess the performance of their online customer service functionality and gain insight into their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

This review assesses the availability, accessibility and functionality of online customer service channels. Our approach follows three steps:

Step 1: Define user goals.The review attempts to complete user goals that we selected for each customer service channel such as looking for product information, seeking pricing options, and managing accounts.

Step 2: Score the sites on user criteria for five online customer service categories. We evaluate 103 criteria to assess a Web site’s ability to provide best-in-class online customer service. The review is broken up into categories including self-service, live help, social customer service, email and video customer support. Forrester assigns weightings for criteria based on importance, with higher weightings for availability and resolution. The score for each category is normalized to accommodate the varying number of criteria in each.

Step 3: Apply category weightings. Forrester assigns weights for each of the online customer service categories. Categories are weighted based on higher consumer usage and higher satisfaction data.

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