We all remember the horror stories about customer relationship management projects gone awry: XYZ Insurance Co. spent $5 million in 2000 on a CRM engagement, and another $2 million on software, only to find out a year into implementation that the big idea wasn't working. XYZ's call center performance measurements-such as average wait time, average call handling time, and abandon rate-were below industry benchmarking standards-if they were measured adequately at all.Now, five years later, these same insurers have sophisticated performance management systems in place that tell them exactly how long it takes for their service representatives to resolve a customer's problem, how long a caller waits in a queue, and how much money the company can save by improving these key performance indicators.

What's more, many insurers are taking customer service to the next level- beyond productivity improvements-by asking perhaps the most obvious questions: What about the customers? How does their experience factor into our performance measurement equation? How do they feel about the call they just made to our contact center? How do they feel about the way we resolved their problem? Isn't that what CRM is all about? Satisfying customers to keep and grow their relationship with you?

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