11 convincing case studies prove the ROI of CRM 0

Posted on November 03, 2013 by Rob Petersen




Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves technology and software to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support.

CRM has been with us since 1986 when ACT!, the #1 best-selling contact and customer manager, introduced the business world to contact management software, essentially a digital rolodex. Today, CRM involves the use cloud-based and SaaS CRM solutions to lower costs; the integration of marketing channels like digital social media and mobile devices to increase leads and conversion; and “Big Data” to make smarter business decision from analytics.

How is it working? Here are 11 convincing case studies to prove the ROI of CRM.

  • ALLINA HEALTH: Used CRM to manage its data warehouse. It’s identified benefits that include reduced patient length of stay, reduced admissions, and improved health outcomes in stroke, depression, and angioplasty treatments. Within 2 years, the CRM initiative had an ROI of +152% and generated $1,052,828 each year.
  • BEST BUY: Proactively monitored the social channels for customers in need of either customer service support or technical assistance. They created a CRM community to offer a place where  Best Buy’s advocates including Blueshirts, Geek Squad Agents, and the community teams used lTwitter as their customer service channel. There are now roughly 600,000 customers visiting the community and posting 20,000 messages (over 77,000 messages and counting). The community has published over 22 million pages of content. Best Buy estimates that online community engagements provide a benefit of over $5,000,000 to the organization.
  • BUSTED TEES: Sought to bring back recent customers and convert casual browsers, but they also wanted to re-engage with customers who hadn’t made a purchase, been to the website, or opened an email in a significant period of time. They use CRM Retargeting to serve display ads to people with nothing but an email or mailing address. It increased average order value to $40 and generated an ROI of +390%.
  • CANADA POST: One of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced postal companies, has $5.9 billion) in annual revenue. It uses CRM as a cornerstone of its business transformation, particularly with regards to electronic shipping tools for commercial customers; internet sales and service tools for customer self-service and easier access to services; and contact centers to give customer service agents integrated information for customer transactions. CRM saved $16.25 million in revenue leakage.
  • CISCO: Established a social media listening center. It listens to more than 5000 social mentions a day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. Cisco has been able to control outside agency fees, avoid other customer and partner interaction costs, increase team productivity, and identify new sales opportunities. The social media listening center has had an ROI of +281% in 5 months to generates an annual benefits of $1,596,292.
  • GET SATISFACTION: A leading online customer community platform that companies use or customer support, idea submission, marketing and sales questions, and capturing positive feedback, focused traffic driving strategies on search, social media, blogging, and buildling a content community. The CRM strategy achieved an ROI of +104% in month one, +168% in month two and +248% in month three.
  • KIXEYE: An online gaming portal, used CRM to increase customer acquisition through its growing volume of Facebook ads. It’s enabled Kixeye to decrease annual advertising costs by 15%, extent the acquisition life cycle of games by 6 months and increased user productivity by 7.5 percent.
  • MAGOOSH GRE: offers online courses for GMAT, GRE and SAT courses including video explanations, subject lessons, and practice tests. Magoosh ran a test and found that people who had been retargeted converted at a significantly higher rate than the control group. A CRM retargeting campaign generating 1,123 conversions for an ROI of +486.
  • QOSINA: A medical and cosmetic components distributor, sells products to medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, skincare and spa companies. It used Microsoft CRM to effectively track its customer and prospect interaction, and to provide management oversight for accountability of sales opportunities and salon industries. It generated ROI of +172% within 2 years.
  • TYROIT: is Europe’s largest manufacturer of bonded grinding, cutting-off, sawing, and drilling tools, generating $416 million in annual revenue from more than 70,000 unique products produced in 19 plants for 60 countries. Tyroit used CRM  integrate products and solutions to reduce the number of contact points and transaction costs. It increased bottom line costs by +25% and produced an ROI of +183% within 2 years.
  • ZENDESK: is a web-based customer support software company with a robust ticket management system and a strong customer community. They offer products from starting from a free trial to three paid tiers. They used retargeting to improve lead generation and saw conversion increase by +1317%.

As a full service digital marketing agency focused on proven relationship marketing principles and ROI,  we want to make sure there’s a case study that relevant to your biggest business challenge.

We pride ourselves on being, perhaps, the most robust resource for digital marketing case studies on the internet. Visit our Category Page on Case Studies; download our complementary eBook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI; or sign up for our Newsletter to get the most current case studies, as soon as they are available.

Are case studies important to your business? Do these 11 case studies prove the ROI of CRM to you?


21 experts define CRM in their own words and pictures 9

Posted on June 09, 2012 by Rob Petersen

Peter Drucker“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.”

This succinct truth from Peter Drucker in The Practice of Management (1954) is a apt and insightful definition of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

But a lot has changed. CRM now involves technology, software, inbound and outbound marketing, lead acquisition, databases, multiple touch points, multi-channel marketing, enterprise solutions and social media.

Here’s how 21 expert define CRM.

  1. A way to identify, acquire, and retain customers, a business’ greatest asset. – Siebel
  2. A widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. – Wikepedia
  3. An enterprisewide business strategy designed to optimize profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction by organizing the enterprise around customer segments, fostering customer-satisfying behaviors and linking processes from customers through suppliers – Gartner
  4. An application used to automate sales and marketing functions and to manage sales and service activities in an organization. – Microsoft
  5. A business strategy directed to understand, anticipate and respond to the needs of an enterprise’s current and potential customers in order to grow the relationship value. – CRM Forecast
  6. A strategy used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. – CIO
  7. An information industry term for methodologies, software, and usually Internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way. – Marios Alexandrou
  8. A comprehensive business model for increasing revenues and profits by focusing on customers. – Martin Walsh
  9. The belief that customers should feel like a VIP every time they communicate with your company. –  Jennifer Carnie, Customer Systems
  10. A management philosophy according to which a company’s goals can be best achieved through identification and satisfaction of the customers’ stated and unstated needs and wants. – Business Dictionary (1 of 2) 
  11. A computerized system for identifying, targeting, acquiring, and retaining the best mix of customers. – Business Dictionary (2 of 2)
  12. A business process of understanding, collecting and managing all of the information in a business environment relating to a customer. The goal of CRM is to more effectively communicate with customers and improve customer relationships over time. – James Wong, Avidian Technologies
  13. The processes, software, and systems that help an enterprise manage its relationships with prospects, customers, distribution channels, call centers, and suppliers. – Complete CRM Solution
  14. A person you have dealings with on a professional basis. A relationship as how you interact with someone, your view of them, their view of you and how this affects the way you deal with each other. Being in control of your customer relationships, defining them, steering them in the direction you decide. – Bluesoft
  15. A combination of software and a customized software process to help companies gain a competitive advantage in either sales, marketing or customer service. – MondoCRM
  16. The aggregation of customer-centric strategies which drive new functional activity not only for sales, marketing and service, but often back office functions such as accounting, production, and shipping which demand reengineered work processes for everyone affected which require technology support to implement. – Unknown

CRM involves steps and stages that are sometimes better visualized. So, here are some ways the process of CRM is defined pictorially.

Sales Funnel


Brain Carrol B2BLeadRoundtable

Brian Carroll - B2B Lead Roundtable



Amigolog CRM Overview


CRM Wheel


All of these definitions prove to me technology can advance the management of the customer; but the relationship that keeps them is the understanding of their needs and values, which has less to do with technology and a lot more to do with how you engage with your customers.

What do these definition prove to you?

21 experts show and tell how they define Social CRM 14

Posted on January 15, 2012 by Rob Petersen

Social CRM represents an important marketing milestone because it combines social marketing and science.

Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) marries mass, word-of-mouth, personal interactions with the principles of a sophisticated and software-based discipline; one that is more associated with 1-to-1 than 1-to-many relationships and B2B than B2C marketing. Because it connects many audiences plus is digital and measurable, Social CRM holds great promise for many marketers.

It is still early in its life cycle so there are different definitions and some think Social CRM is more of a buzzword than a real thing. But there are very smart CRM experts who believe it is a powerful tool that is going to with us for some time as the chart above shows.

To judge for yourself, here are 21 ways Social CRM is explained and shown by experts.

  1. Social CRM enhances the relationship aspect of CRM and builds on improving the relationship with more meaningful interactions. – Altimeter
  2. [Social] CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction in a business environment. – Oliver Blanchard
  3. Social CRM is the process by which organizations make clients an integral asset in the management of productive relationships. – Mark Bonnell
  4. Social CRM is a business philosophy that expands the borders of traditional customer relationship management beyond information, process and technology to people, conversations, and relationships. – Jas Dhillon
  5. Social CRM captures both the tools AND the processes around the tools to: 1) leverage crowd sourcing customer ideas, 2) apply the wisdom of crowds to those ideas, 3) create a public customer ecosystem, 4) take the customer experience and communication to the time, place and method the customer prefers and 5) increase customer intimacy and empowerment. – Michael Fauscette
  6. Social CRM is a strategy for harnessing communities to support customers and prospects, as well as sales, marketing and customer service organizations, along a purposeful and mutually beneficial business process – Gartner
  7. Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s programmatic response to the customer’s control of the conversation. – Paul Greenberg
  8. Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty. – Harish Kotadia, PH.D
  9. Social CRM is customer relationship management fostered by communication with customers through social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. – Jacob Morgan
  10. Social CRM is a strategy to engage customers in a mutually beneficial conversation through the use of various technology platforms. – Tim Sanchez
  11. Social customer relationship management (Social CRM) refers to the use of social media and social media techniques to engage a business’s customer base. – Technopedia
  12. Social CRM is the integration of social media and CRM. Literally: Social + CRM. If you don’t have both, you don’t have Social CRM. – Bob Thompson
  13. Social CRM or SCRM is a business strategy that enables brands to proactively identify, engage and build advocacy with customers through social media in real time. – Kohiben Vodden
  14. A process to monitor, engage and manage conversations and relationships with existing and prospective customers and influencers across the internet, social networks and digital channels. – Martin Walsh
  15. Social CRM builds upon CRM by leveraging a social element that enables a business to connect customer conversations and relationships from social networking sites in to the CRM process. – Webopedia
  16. (Social CRM) is the use of social and traditional CRM tools and processes to support a strategy of customer engagement.ZD Net

Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, here are 5 charts that show how Social CRM is defined.

From Brent Lear

From CapGemini

From CMSWire

From Mashable


From Social Media Examiner


And here’s one more definition – my own. Social CRM is the knowledge and tools to build personal and social relationships that result in business growth and profits that are measurable and scalable.

What’s your expert opinion on Social CRM?

12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI 18

Posted on December 12, 2011 by Rob Petersen



Digital and social media are held to highly accountable standards when it comes to return on investment (ROI). For the last two years, Social Media Examiner reports the #1 question marketers ask about social media is “How do I measure social media return on investment?”

On this blog, we’ve highlighted over 100 case studies (see related posts at the bottom) and believe digital and social media demonstrate the proven principles of relationship marketing better than any other communication channel, particularly when it comes to customer service.

If there are people in your company who still need convincing, here are 12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI.

1. ACCOR: has over 4000 hotels in 90 countries and has to manage over 5000 comments each month on sites such as and The company wants to listen, learn and engage with what customers are saying about the Accor brand and approximately 12,000 competitors’ hotels so it can then establish dashboards to act on the data. Accor has found this type of customer service not only improves the company’s online reputation, it results in double-digit sales increases for key brands like Novotel.

2. ALASKA AIR: Is the first carrier in the world to let customers check-in from the internet and at self-service kiosks. Traditionally, weather delays and cancellation cause airlines to pull agents off inbound sales calls and handle affected customers. The result is many customers are not handled effectively or in time plus new bookings are lost. The internet provided a more time sensitive way to personally handle affected passengers without tying up sales staff. The result: Revenue and ROI increased because each customer costs 54 cents to re-ticket over the internet versus $1.60 on a live call; live agents can handle only 500 calls/hour while their web site can handle 20,000 calls/hour; just as important, not one negative comment occurred when the company made this switch.

3. AT&T: Has over 1.6 million fans on their Facebook page and a staff of 20 to engage, manage conversations and, when appropriate, encourage sales. The company trains and educates this team. Surveys show AT&T’s Facebook staff gets some of their best customer service ratings while also delivering some of the company’s highest sales per employees.

4. BEST BUY (Twelp Force): Gives employees the opportunity to help consumers on Twitter. Participation is voluntary and the community grows to 2,200 employees within 3 months. They respond to over 13,000 customers on Twitter answering questions, concerns, and opinions. The Twitter feed @twelpforce now counts over 40,000 followers and the number of questions averages 100-125 per day. It is considered a key value-add by customers and the company.

5. CARE ONE DEBT RELIEF SERVICES: Opens an online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in 2009 to help consumers with questions about debt relief, consolidation and budgeting. By going directly to social networks, there is no registration process and the company’s staff is able to give them a faster response. Lead generation is 179% higher, forms are completed 6X faster, customers make their first payment at a rate that was 7X better than non-social media customers.

6. COMCAST: Much has been written about @ComcastCares and the way Frank Eliason helped the company better handle the 3 million customer service calls (most unhappy) the company gets each year through blogs and Twitter with 3 simple words: Can I help? The company reviews 6000 blog posts and about 2000 Tweets each day to service more customers in a better and faster way than traditional inbound service. Here’s Frank explaining just what Comcast did.

7. DIRECTV: Has problems with churn among its 18.5 U.S. customers as more cable service develop a presence in satellite-based television. The best way to reduce churn is to increase customer satisfaction and one way to do it is optimize field technician routes for the 600,000 service calls received each day. DIRECTV implements Oracle GoldenGate to consolidate disparate data marts into a central warehouse. This improves the timeliness, granularity, and accuracy of customer and service data. It enables managers and more than 15,000 call center agents to conduct real-time data queries and analysis throughout the day—using dashboards, e-mail delivery, and end-user reporting tools—eliminating the reliance on outdated weekly or monthly reports.

8. FORD: The way we buy cars is changing. A 2011 survey of 2,485 consumers found that 28% visit websites five times or more during their car-buying process but only 11% visit dealerships that many times. Ford, in the UK, designs a multi-channel contact and lead management system based on its intelligentContact (iContact) platform. It manages every customer contact and increases agent efficiency by 25%. Where some calls used to take a minute to answer, now they are answered within 20 seconds.

9. H&R BLOCK: Tax preparation is a highly seasonal business.  H&R uses Facebook and Twitter to provide immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A in the “Get It Right” social media campaign.  The effort secures 1,500,000 unique visitors and answers 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the prior year when there was no social media “Get It Right” program. Here’s how Amy Worley explains how the company got it right.

10. LENOVA: Sees customers are talking about its products in third-party forums and is worried about being left out of these important conversations. Using a peer-to-peer support community in social media, Lenovo listens to customer experiences and establishes ownership of any problem. The results: 20% reduction in laptop support call rates, an increase in agent productivity, a shortened problem resolution cycle, and an increase in Net Promoter Scores…plus ideas from the community result in new product innovations.

11. MACY’S: Handles 130 orders every minute online from over 1,000,000 unique visitors every day. and link production to online orders and give access to 100 employees to optimize customer flow. For the first time, Macy’s experiences no downtime during holiday peak period and increases online sales +40% for December and 29% for the year.

12. SETON HALL UNIVERSITY: relies on tuition for revenue. They discover incoming freshmen are forming lasting impressions about colleges by reading a university’s Facebook page before they go to university’s website. Seton Hall gets actively involved in Facebook conversations to answers questions, participate in discussions and guide potential incoming freshmen. They tag the web traffic coming from Facebook to the website. Tuitions coming from Facebook are +18% and deposits are +25% than those who do not consult Facebook.

We’ve produced results like these for our client and have case studies of our own to share on the website. We’re proud of the results and ROI achieved and the demonstration these business principles work. We’d be glad to share what we see working so effectively in the marketplace for your brand.

Do these digital and social media case studies prove Customer Service ROI to you?

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27 reasons case studies always make great content 1

Posted on April 17, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Many people have opinions on what makes great content.  One  is case studies.  But case studies usually aren’t at the top of the list.  

They are generally listed behind your voice (e.g. be authentic, be helpful, be passionate, be transparent) and even grammatical advice (e.g give tips, ask questions, use subheads and bullets to make it easier to read). 

In my opinion, case studies deserve a higher place in the content pecking order.  

Within the last year, I’ve written a number of blogposts using case studies.  They attracted a stong readership.  They’ve brought in business.  Just as important to me, they created relationships with people all over the world who share the same interests.  Here are the posts and how they use case studies:

  1. 34 case studies that prove social media ROI
  2. Another 33 case studies that prove social media ROI
  3. 16 case studies that proe social CRM
  4. 6 social media ROI case studies with something in common, courage

It is fair to say social media and ROI are topics of interest too.  But these topics would be of little interest and value without substantiation from case studies and it is the case studies that make the topics come to life.

Here are 27 reason case studies always make greate content:

  1. They begin a dialogue with proof of results
  2. They make the topic real
  3. They are objective
  4. The are quantifiable 
  5. They establish relevance
  6. They go well beyond personal opinion
  7. They show you’ve done research to proof your point; you’ve put your money where you mouth is
  8. They make your conviction plausable
  9. The show readers the mutual respect of being smart enough to decide for themselves
  10. They open up a conversation where everyone participates with the same information
  11. They teach something new  
  12. They tell a story
  13. They present challenges 
  14. They show how challenges are overcome
  15. They show creative thinking
  16. They show resourcefulness
  17. They demonstrate innovation
  18. They serve as a model for success
  19. They outline the steps someone or some people used to get there
  20. They demonstrate how category or industry leadership is achieved
  21. They capture entrepreneurial drive
  22. They are never “cookie-cutter” solutions
  23. They create an admiration for the people, companies and brands featured 
  24. They are inspirational
  25. They are aspirational
  26. They are passed on and shared

In my own case study work, I’d been inspired by the creative thinking of Joe Sorge, an owner of a restaurant and hospitality chain that includes AJ Bombers and a founder of Kitchen Table Companies that helps small buisnesses and the resourcefulness of Mari Luangrath, the owner and founder of Foiled Cupcakes.

They have written back to elaborate on their stories and personal values.  It taught me the #27th reasons case studes always make great content; they build relationships and create friendships.  

Do these give you enough reasons why case studies always make great content?

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