On-demand CRM proved a success in 2003
The on-demand CRM provider, RightNow Technologies, has released usage figures showing that its combined client companies used its CRM solutions to deliver more than 200 million online customer service sessions in 2003, representing a 106% increase over 2002's total.
The figures underscore the growing popularity of web-based customer service applications among global internet users, and highlight RightNow's ability to provide scalable hosted services. More than 80% of the firm's 1,000+ enterprise customers are now using the 'on-demand' version of its multi-channel customer service and support (CSS) solutions to their improve customers' service experience both online and offline.
For the purpose of the analysis, an online customer service session was defined as a web site visit by an end user to search for information using an online knowledge base, to submit questions through a web form, or to interact with a service agent via live chat.
Cost cutting opportunities The growing user demand for web-based customer service supports the need for companies to utilise the internet medium more effectively to provide faster and higher quality service, and the opportunity for companies to reduce customer service costs by minimising the more expensive human-assisted channels.
For example, ATA Airlines Inc., which uses RightNow's CRM solution, more than doubled the number of online customer sessions delivered from 160,482 in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 434,974 in the fourth quarter of 2003. The number of searches carried out through ATA's online knowledge base quadrupled from 47,094 in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 191,266 in the fourth quarter of 2003. Without the self-help systems, many of these queries would have traditionally been handled by human customer service operators.
"Companies, no matter what sector they are in, must capitalise on the growing popularity of the internet as a customer service channel," said Greg Gianforte, CEO and founder of RightNow.