The Roundup: Outsource Your CRM to Save Money

By David Aponovich

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Report: Outsourcing CRM Abroad Saves Money
Jupiter Media Metrix reports that outsourcing customer service operations in offshore contact centers will save U.S. companies up to 30% over the costs of handling the functions in-house.

New York-based Jupiter says that companies with large contact center operations (200 seats or more) will save almost $4 million annually by outsourcing to contact centers located abroad. (There are prominent providers in India, Canada, Ireland and Northern Europe, according to Jupiter.)

But a warning: Jupiter analysts advise businesses to only use offshore labor for basic support functions for the next 18-24 months "while overseas providers mature and gain experience."

The Internet research firm notes that labor costs account for most of a customer service contact center's budget. High staff turnover rates lead companies to spend more than $500,000 per year on hiring and training new workers.

Quantifying Wireless Usage
A report this week from high-tech market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group finds that U.S. businesses are allowing more and more employees to use a variety of wireless services.

In-Stat's research found that 47% of the U.S. workforce will have access to wireless voice, pagers and/or mobile computing devices like Palm Pilots by the end of 2001. Driven by more robust and functional wireless services and equipment, the adoption in the business market is expected to rise to more than 60% of the U.S .workforce by 2004.

The research also found:

Yankee: Promising Future for Mobile CRM
Still working on perfecting your traditional customer relationship management systems? Brace yourself for the rise of mobile CRM.

According to a recent report from Yankee Group, a Boston tech research firm, mobile CRM is still in the beginning stages but will have a big impact on customer relationship management over the next two years, as devices beyond laptops are employed. These include mobile sales and service applications.

Yankee reports that companies are just starting to take advantage of the growth in popularity of wireless devices to improve CRM. Over the next 18 months, there will be growth in the implementation of mobile CRM offerings using WAP and Palm standards that let mobile professionals access corporate data via handheld device or WAP-enabled phones.