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EFM to Complete CRM If Done Right

March 06, 2009
Enterprise feedback management (EFM), according to Wikipedia, “is a system of processes and software that enables organizations to centrally manage deployment of surveys while dispersing authoring and analysis throughout an organization.”
 
EFM organizes and channels both customers’ reactions and proactive market research that go into refining and developing products and services, improving service, and into learning more about customers. EFM is natural fit with and arguably completes customer relationship management (CRM) strategies for those reasons. EFM tools are also used to determine employees’ attitudes to help organization deliver better internal services, such as help desk and HR.
 
Jim Davies, a research director with Gartner (News - Alert) points out that EFM is enabling real-time and event driven responses, thereby permitting much more accurate and actionable data. EFM solutions are improving through supporting more channels, better analytics, and robust technology stacks. The surveys are more personalized and customized.
 
“If a customer has an interaction with a business which changes the data internally e.g. making a large withdrawal from a bank by phone, EFM that can trigger a survey so that the bank can find out why,” explains Davies. “The questions and responses could help it determine if this is a quirk, an underlying problem the customer has with the bank or if there has been other similar events indicative of a serious problem.”
 
Yet EFM has not become as popular as it could be given what it can do very several reasons. These range according to Davies, from the cost of adoption to the architectural maturity of available solutions. It also includes a general lack of understanding of the benefits of embracing a holistic view to enterprise feedback where the software is an embedded part of organizations’ business applications.

“There are dozens of online tools that create surveys so you can send them to thousands of customers but you don't always get a huge amount of value from that but that's what people tend to think surveying and EFM is about,” explains Davies. "Yet it can't be further from the truth. If you do proper EFM, which in contrast integrates with your operational systems, is personalized, supports multiple delivery channels, is event driven, and has good analytics the costs becomes much higher but you get far more value in return. You obtain better information that leads to better business decisions, and to much higher response rates."
 
Unfortunately, EFM solutions have often been underutilized by enterprises, with the investment idle and resources wasted. What typically happens in these cases is that different departments buy EFM tools to relieve what Davies called “pains” i.e. why customers or employees are unhappy. Yet these applications end up in silos, with multiple data sources, and no intelligence to filter them.
 
“What organizations who already have EFM tools and want to fully utilize them should do is to take a hard look at the solutions they have, evaluate and assess them for present and future needs, then pick the right one to go forward with, migrate data to it, and gradually phase out the others,” recommends Davies.
 
There are for firms wishing to use EFM for CRM powerful feature-rich solutions available that they can deploy and migrate to. Confirmit’s new Confirmit (News - Alert) Horizons combines and integrates multiple inbound and outbound channels, including phone, paper, and IVR, that it says will enable its clients to achieve higher response rates. It also offers dashboard reporting tools for data analysts that may assist them to identify, track, and report on trends quicker, thereby permitting quicker responses by enterprises.
 
“We’re letting our customers have their end customers decide how they want to communicate feedback and survey responses when they want it,” says Gary Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Confirmit. “For example if an end customer needs to end a survey because they have a call coming in you can ask ‘Can I offer you the option of finishing this online? I can send you an e-mail with a link to the rest of the survey, to where you left off.’ In this fashion you build the relationships with the end customers while obtaining key information to improve products, services, and offers to attract and keep them and to win over others.”
 
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).
 

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart
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