Get Ready for the EFM Upswing

Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) involves aggregating all forms of the customer's voice no matter the channel -- phone, Web, social networking, etc -- in order to act upon customer demands, complaints, ideas, and questions. Although the need for effective feedback management seems to have surfaced among organizations, marrying all of the channels and pumping feedback throughout the entire enterprise remains a challenge. Hypatia Research senior analyst Louis Olds gets to the bottom of the reasons for growth in the EFM market and the challenges that businesses are facing in implementing EFM solutions. "An end-to-end EFM solution is still a goal but not widely implemented yet," Olds says. 

In a recent webinar outlining his research, Olds identifies the top three challenges customers are facing when implementing an EFM solution:

  1. Vendor selection: the pool for providers keeps expanding and it's difficult to identify which offer best-of-breed tools.
  2. Integration with existing systems: seamless integration continues to be a roadblock.
  3. Establishing internal biz processes and best practices: Hypatia plans on releasing benchmarks for EFM, but as of now, there are little resources for companies looking to find best practices.

Despite challenges, the research points to steady increase in EFM usage planned:

  • Within the next six months, 19 percent of respondents plan to increase investments in EFM,
  • 21 percent plan to invest in the next six-18 months, 
  • and 25 percent are planning to increase EFM projects in the next 18-36 months.

According to the research, more than two thirds of respondents were manager level or above. Olds also found that B2C report a higher likelihood of investing in EFM than their B2B counterparts. Olds relays that organizations are opting in to EFM in order to acquire new customers, increase customer loyalty, and to understand customer preferences. Moreover, he says, EFM can arm companies with competitive advantages. "EFM plus customer insight equals increased profitability," he says. In terms of operational excellence, respondents relay the following key reasons for looking to EFM:

  1. Improve customer experience,
  2. Improve profitability, and
  3. Improve customer retention.

Olds adds to those points the valuable potential of combining survey results and enterprise data. Not only will users be able to understand customer preferences, but they will be able to apply them in business areas such as product development and customer service.  The opportunities are ripe, yet the market is young. "The market of end users is still struggling to identify their best practices," Olds says. "Selecting a vendor becomes more of a forward looking exercise." Olds points out that now is a great opportunity for service providers. There's also an opportunity for domain or sector expertise, especially for those vendors delivering advanced or predictive analytics, as well.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.


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