I'm moving into covering the greater CRM space, yet still retaining a deep focus on customer service technologies. Now-retired analyst extraordinaire, William Band and I put together our top trends for CRM in 2014. These trends are all about leveraging strategies and technologies for better understanding, connecting with, serving, and delighting customers. You can access the full CRM Trends Report for 2014 here.
Trend 1: Companies Strive To Be Experience Driven. In 2014, we predict that an increasing number of organizations will adopt a more-disciplined approach to customer experience transformation. You can advance your organization's customer experience maturity by following a four-phased path: repair, elevate, optimize, and differentiate. To help enterprises excel at CX, leverage Forrester's framework that outlines 40 essential practices across six disciplines: customer understanding, measurement, governance, strategy, design, and culture.
Trend 2: Enterprises Will Embrace Tools That Create An Outside-In Perspective. To make meaningful improvements, organizations must align their customer experience ecosystems. That requires understanding customers' deep needs, viewing interactions from the customer's perspective, and socializing customer insights - and organizations will embark on this journey in 2014.
Trend 3: More Organizations Will Become Digital Disruptors. Digital disruption occurs any time a company uses digital tools or platforms to deliver better product experiences to customers in less time and for less money. In our digital disruption readiness survey, 89% of executives agreed that digital disruption is headed right for them, yet only 32% believe that their policies and practices will enable them to adapt - practices that must mature this year.
Trend 4: The Mobile Mind Shift Will Force CRM To Evolve Quickly. Mobile CRM solution support will continue to rapidly evolve, and every CRM vendor has a mobile offering. But assembling the components of an effective mobile CRM solution to meet the precise use case for a specific type of mobile worker, or customer interaction, requires navigating a complex set of technology, process and people decisions.
Trend 5: Big Data Will Turn Into Customer Insight. We expect more organizations to ramp up their efforts to turn big data into business insights. But most organizations don’t know where to start. Use Forrester's framework to help measure the maturity and guide the improvement plan of customer data management capabilities, as you capture, analyze, share data and evolve an organization to support your CRM strategy.
Trend 6: Social Will Connect At All Stages Of The Customer Life Cycle. Social technologies have changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Yet, nearly 10 years into the social media boom, many executives are still reactive about adopting social media technologies, instead of focusing on the goals they want to accomplish. We predict that more companies will use a strategic approach, such as Forrester's approach, to leverage social technologies across all stages of the customer life cycle.
Trend 7: Rapid Adoption Of CRM SaaS Solutions Will Continue. SaaS CRM deployments are here to stay, with over 70% of enterprises of all sizes having deployed all or some CRM, or planning to deploy CRM as a SaaS solution. And organizations don't choose SaaS only because its typically less expensive. In many cases, it gives organizations the much needed agility to quickly react to changing business pressures.
Trend 8: More Companies Will Aspire To Become Agile Enterprises. All companies aspire to have a single, consolidated version of "the truth about customers," and they continue to rely on structured processes, transactional systems, and packaged apps to do this. Yet, over time, these systems have developed inflexible architectures and have become aligned with silos built around business functions that now present a serious barrier to many fast-moving companies. In 2014, we expect to see more companies to break down these technology, process, and organizational barriers to become more agile, and as a result, more competitive.
Trend 9: Marketing Leaders Will Put Customer Insights To Use. Most companies treat marketing technology as a set of tools to buy and use rather than as a core competency to exploit. Marketers gather a great amount of data that can yield insights which can be leveraged across the organization. In 2014, we predict that this data will be used to enhance contextual marketing programs for greater personalization.
Trend 10: Enterprise Will Support Employees To Embrace New Technologies. In our recent survey of over 600 organizations, more than two-fifths stated that their problems with CRM technologies were the result of "people issues," such as: slow user adoption, inadequate attention paid to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working. The result? Underutilized CRM investment and unmet business objectives. We predict that more organizations will apply the lessons learned from past failures to successfully deploy CRM technologies in 2014.