CRM Customer Satisfaction in the Pits

By Heather Baldwin

A new study by High-Yield Marketing, Front Line Solutions and Mangen Research Associates confirms what you’ve been hearing for months now: customers are unhappy with CRM software. In a strikingly negative assessment of CRM software, 1,294 survey respondents gave the CRM software industry as a whole a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score of 63.1. Compare that figure, say those who compiled the data, to world-class products and services that “routinely achieve CSI scores in the mid-eighties and low nineties in this type survey.” Good, but not outstanding, products generally rate in the seventies to low eighties. “Real trouble typically starts with scores in the mid-seventies and below, which most often require immediate remedial action to prevent further damage or exposure,” say the study’s authors.

In other words, the CRM vendor community has a long way to go, and the study “Multi-function CRM Software: How Good Is It?” identifies several areas that need work. First, CRM vendors need to practice what they preach. The community received very low scores for customer focus – the very area in which they are supposed to have expertise. Survey respondents placed “extraordinarily high importance” on a vendor’s willingness to walk away from a sale or implementation when they recognize there’s not a good fit, yet those same respondents felt closing deals was more important to the vendors than building relationships. Second, vendors need to ensure accuracy in their claims. Respondents complained of functionality and adaptability that were promised but never delivered, of misleading customer-satisfaction claims and of software failing to support user requirements. Additionally, customers want simpler, faster implementations as well as more affordable pricing consistent with the value they are receiving.

The report rated several factors, including general satisfaction, functionality, pricing and support. Overall, SalesLogix ranked highest with a score of 66.0; Siebel Systems ranked fifth, at 62.6, of the eight vendors rated individually. For more information or to obtain a copy of the study, visit