Research reveals 98% of companies have information chasm on vital business statistics…
London UK - 13 February, 2003 - FTSE companies are wholly inconsistent in providing integrated information across multiple channels. This is the key finding of the Miscommunication Index™, carried out by Rainier PR, the technology marketing communications consultancy.
This apparent lack of data integration indicates potential difficulties to deliver on business strategies, such as CRM, cross-selling or 24/7 service, whose success is dependent on integrated operations.
Ninety-eight per cent of a sample of 50 FTSE 100 firms examined failed to provide simple information consistently on vital business statistics. Twenty per cent of enquiries received no response and 62 per cent of questions were unable to be answered. Results per company varied dramatically, with the poorest performers achieving a total rating of just 16 per cent, while the best company, Abbey National, scored 95 per cent.
The research made a single attempt to test UK companies’ abilities to handle simple enquiries across different channels of communication, including telephone, Web, e-mail and post. The results demonstrate a clear requirement for large corporates to integrate information systems and communications channels.
Overall results have worsened since previous research by Rainier PR: while less than half of companies scored less than 50 per cent in 2001, this has risen to 66 per cent. E-mail communication in particular has deteriorated: 42 per cent of enquiries were unanswered several weeks after they had been e-mailed in this year’s study, compared to 36 per cent in 2001.
Stephen Waddington, managing director of Rainier PR, said: “Corporate Britain is a victim of CRM schizophrenia, even with its own data. Most companies we surveyed were unable to provide even the most basic information about themselves.
“How can a company present itself effectively to its customers, suppliers or investors – let alone move into new markets or change business models? Despite the heavy investment in CRM, ERP and Business Integration technologies, this shows gaping chasms in corporate information systems.”
Companies were rated according to their abilities to handle requests and provide information, and on the consistency of information provided. Information requested was the location of the company’s headquarters; the number of employees; countries operated in; web site address and company description. The findings were also analysed by industry sector and by the channel of communication used.
Key findings included:
Retail was the worst sector overall, averaging a 40 per cent response rate. It also proved to be least consistent and least able to handle questions by e-mail, with only 16 per cent of e-mail questions answered. Said Waddington: “Your call might be important to them – your e-mail clearly isn’t.”
Media was least able to handle telephone enquiries – just 38 per cent could respond to questions over the phone. “Ironic,” said Waddington, “for a sector that loves to talk.”
Overall performance between channels varied by 42 per cent
Waddington added: “General information policing in most UK companies is appalling. First impressions do count – indeed, are vital for a positive customer experience - yet front line training continues to be inadequate in this regard. We looked at only the barest minimum of communication channels in everyday use by consumers. What will happen when those channels expand into areas such as mobile services and interactive digital TV?”
In order to improve, Rainier PR has made the following recommendations:
Companies should appoint a single individual as ‘information officer’, responsible for policing general company information systems and communications
Training for front line agents needs to incorporate general company information
Training also needs to cover recognition of the nature of requests in order to give appropriate responses
Companies need to put in place standard processes for the management and routing of requests
The study revealed a tendency to refer inquirers generally to the corporate web site rather than a human agent. Companies should hold a quarterly review to evaluate the ease of use of web-based information sources (e.g. for investors and customers).
The Miscommunication Index™ was carried out from December, 2002 to January, 2003. Fifty major UK companies, all FTSE- listed, were examined. The top companies by total turnover from each of the UK’s six leading industry sectors were selected for the research. Sectors examined were food producers and processors; support services; retail; banking and utilities vertical sectors, with a maximum of eight companies short-listed from each sector. Full results are available at
Rainier PR acknowledges that alternative studies carried out at different times under different conditions may yield other results.
About Rainier PR
Rainier PR is a leading business-to-business technology PR agency. Based in London, it employs 10 people and had 2002 revenues of approximately £1.1 million. In 2002, the company was wholly acquired its management team. Rainier PR is a top 40 UK technology PR consultancy as well as a top 100 UK PR consultancy (PR Week magazine). For more see http://www.rainierpr.co.uk
Results by sector are available on http://www.rainierpr.co.uk
FOOD PRODUCERS AND PROCESSORS
Associated British Foods
Scottish & Newcastle
Marks & Spencer Group
National Grid Transco
Scottish & Southern Energy
Alliance & Leicester
Bank of Scotland
Bradford & Bingley
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group
MEDIA AND PHOTOGRAPHY
British Sky Broadcasting
Daily Mail & General Trust (A SHS)
CHEMICALS AND PHARMACEUTICALS
Imperial Chemical Industries
Shire Pharmaceuticals Group
Rainier PR Limited
T: +44 20 7494 6570
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