The Customer Respect Group, an IT research firm, will publish May 15 the results of a study that ranks leading customer relationship management vendors—both on-demand and on-premises providers—on how well they treat their online customers.
The report, sponsored by on-demand sales methodology company Select Selling, reveals poor marks for one-on-one communications and mixed results in trust and site usability, among other variables scored, officials said.
“CRM vendors were surprisingly poor communicating with the Web visitor, something that goes against the message they communicate,” said Terry Golesworthy, president of the Customer Respect Group, in a statement.
“The fact that 27 percent of e-mail questions were ignored completely is an amazing statistic for the industry; a cynic might suggest that internal CRM systems are poor.”
To Golesworthys way of thinking, the way a CRM vendor treats its own customers is a “leading indicator” as to how well they understand the customer relationship.
The study compared services from on-premises and on-demand vendors, providing each with a Customer Respect Index score.
The companies include, in order of their overall CRI ranking: Salesforce.com (which rated the highest at 6.7 out of 10 possible points), RightNow Technologies on-demand (6.6), SAP on-demand (6.4), Maximizer Software on-premises (6.2), Oracle on-premises (6.1), SalesNet on-demand and FrontRange Solutions on-premises (both 5.8), Pivotal on-premises (5.6), NetSuite on-demand (5.5), Microsoft on-premises (5.2), AmDocs on-premises (5.1), Siebel/Oracle on-demand (4.9), Sage on-premises (4.7), and Sugar on-demand (4.5).
Companies that scored above 7 are rated “excellent” by CRG.
Those pulling down scores of 6.25 to 6.99 are rated “good,” while anything below 5.0—Oracle on-demand, Sage and Sugar—is rated “needs improvement” to “poor.”
To figure out which attributes to measure online service by, Ipswich, Mass.-based CRG interviewed users on a continuous basis, and benchmarked more than 2,500 corporate Web sites across a gamut of industries.
(In its most recent survey, more than half the respondents said a poor Web site experience has a “major impact” on how they view a company, its reputation and image.)
The Customer Respect study looked at three main points: site usability, communication and trust.
Overall CRM vendors fared below their contemporaries in other industries, particularly in the area of communication, with an aggregate CRI score of 4.1.
The study found that 27 percent of e-mail inquiries were ignored by CRM vendors and that no company consistently, or quickly, responded with helpful responses to online questions—a timely response being within a day.
Of those that did receive a response, only half were timely.
Only 31 percent of e-mail inquiries were acknowledged with an auto response, “functionality almost certainly provided in all CRM systems,” CRG officials said.
In terms of trust, SAP was rated as having the most trustworthy site.
Five of the seven on-demand vendors were also rated “excellent” in this area (though the report doesnt say which vendors those are).
For site usability measures, on demand fared worse than their on premises counterparts, with a collective score of 5.9, versus 6.7. CRM vendors got a middling score at 6.3.
Maximizer and RightNow Technologies were deemed to have the most usable sites—both which were rated as “excellent.”
All seven CRM vendors looked at were rated as “good” for Web site navigation capabilities, though this group didnt fare well in “attitude” tests.
For self service capabilities—key to any on-demand offering—only one company, Salesforce.com, was rated well.
Nine of the 14 companies looked at were pegged with a “poor” rating, though its not clear which nine companies fared so badly.
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