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Siebel's release of new survey data comes shortly after the revelation that it is calling in the authorities to investigate the leaking of confidential documents questioning customer satisfaction. The company is particularly sensitive to such criticisms at the moment, as it struggles to turn around its falling sales revenue.

Siebel cited a large-scale Siebel customer survey carried out by Aberdeen Group, which indicated that the majority of businesses utilizing Siebel CRM products have gained demonstrable benefits and achieved notable investment returns.

Aberdeen surveyed more than 1,400 customers, receiving what it said is a statistically valid 535 responses. The stress on the statistical validity is an oblique reference to a customer satisfaction survey carried out on a small sample of Siebel's customers by Nucleus Research, which criticized the ROI but was based on a statistically insignificant number of responses.

According to Aberdeen, more than 95% of respondents were satisfied with their CRM investment and will continue to use Siebel solutions. Customers confirmed they were able to estimate specific benefits and reported that, on average, sales productivity increased 17%, service and call center productivity increased 16%, and marketing productivity increased 12%. Operating costs declined by more than 10% for 87% of the customers surveyed.

One statistic that Siebel must have found particularly welcome was the 73% of respondents who said they would add to or upgrade their CRM system in the next 12 months. Especially as last week the company announced a 92% plunge in net income to $4.6 million for Q1 2003, on revenue that dropped 30% to $332.8 million.

While some of this is due to external economic and geo-political factors, Siebel is also having to wrestle with internal changes. These changes stretch from the new architecture behind Siebel 7 and associated customer upgrade issues, to the operational requirements needed to switch from a business based on a relatively small number of mega-sales per quarter, to a larger number of smaller sales. While Siebel is always sensitive to accusations of customer dissatisfaction, the company is particularly conscious of them at the moment, as it makes the necessary changes to get itself back on track.

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