Government Managers Beginning to Embrace, But Not Yet Use, CRM

Although government executives are not normally driven by goals such as “customer retention” and “profit-per-customer,” they are awakening to the concept that commercially developed customer relationship management (CRM) principles can be critical to the success of their own agencies, according to an Accenture global study. Yet, despite the overall willingness — even eagerness —to adopt these principles and put them to work in the near term, the research found that government still has a long way to go to turn the potential of CRM into reality.

Accenture’s 11-country study sought to determine the attitudes of senior government executives toward CRM, a technology-enabled capability that has gained widespread interest in business circles as a competitive differentiator. The research targeted four of the most intensely customer-focused agency types: Revenue, Human Services, Motor Vehicles and Government Information (or “portal”) agencies.

“The public’s view of routine service is being shaped by the customer-centric, 24×7 nature of so many private businesses — and they are now expecting the same from government,” says Accenture government expert David Hunter. “As the world’s largest provider of services, government has much to gain from using CRM capabilities to meet those higher expectations — by providing self-service options to the public, streamlining government processes and improving interagency data sharing. We are encouraged by the results of our study showing public sector managers worldwide are beginning to embrace the notion that CRM can be adapted to their agencies’ unique objectives and thereby help them improve service delivery to their constituents.”

“But make no mistake, our research also found deep gaps in government agencies between the recognition of CRM’s value and practical application on an operational level. In fact, most government agencies are just beginning to harness the power of CRM and need to do much more to truly realize its potential.”

For instance, only 20 percent of respondents said they plan to develop the means to gain better insight into customer needs, which is a critical first step to tailoring services.

Survey results also showed that nearly two-thirds of agencies are not using the information they collect to streamline processes or improve basic customer service. Rather, the focus appears to be on using the data for public relations purposes and internal staff cost management.

Finally, the study found that agencies are highly receptive to the possibilities of partnering with each other and with private sector organizations to facilitate information sharing and relieve cost pressures.

The scope of the Accenture study included Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Respondents were senior-level executives and managers from the agencies listed.  For more information on Accenture’s Global CRM Study, visit http://www.accenture.com/CRMePressKit.

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