Customer Relationship Management or CRM is a business strategy that is aimed at growing mutually gratifying and profitable relationships with customers. Therefore this can be easily said that CRM as the software is a technology that enables businesses to execute their CRM strategies for rapid business growth.
However, there is a disconnect as most easy to use CRM software solutions are internally focused on what is good for the company and thereby lacks both purpose and capabilities to invigorate customers to grow their relationship with the suppliers of their offerings.
Now, a new generation of CRM software is needed for two most important reasons.
Primarily, because businesses require new fanged strategies and supportive cutting-edge technologies to proactively respond to more intelligent and empowered customers.
Secondly, CRM software is 23 years old contact and customer management technology that lies somewhere in-between mature and being commoditized.
Therefore, it is high time that we need CRM technology to refresh its objects and goals.
Hence, here is what is needed for the future of CRM software:
A New Purpose
CRM software must evolve from a sales driven, internally focused, customer data management application designed for process efficiency, monologue communication and cost reduction to an conversion driven, externally focused application for customer engagement designed to deliver rewarding and consistent customer experiences and engage customers into conversations across channels and thereby create customer relationships that are based on goals which are important to the customers.
More Customer Engagement
Since nowadays the customer initiates their conversations with brands in their own preferred social and other online channels, therefore easy to use CRM software should alert the right employee in any business to act on these conversations for engaging the customers proactively.
Maybe the technology behind this is social listening for creating engagements. However even it be so, it needs a lot of improvements.
The web has a lot of noise, and so the challenge and CRM innovation opportunity over here is to separate signals from unusual noises and thereby considerably boost sentiment analysis.
Therefore, we need a CRM technology now that has a more intelligent search than just keywords with simple parameters, an advancement which is akin to finding the needle in the haystack.
Now, once this technological achievement is accomplished the CRM software should categorize, prioritize and then route the social contents to marketing, sales, and support or others in the queue so that it can be acted upon by the right people for growth in sales and revenue.
In the near future, easy to use CRM technology should tell us when there is a selling opportunity, a potential viral situation, a customer problem that needs to be addressed, a competitor scenario that will provide your organization a business development opportunity, or a movement in the market that may trigger a shift in your business strategies for future growth.
Improved Customer Experiences
In the near future easy to use CRM software should help improve the CX (Customer Experience) at every customer-facing interaction.
For this, we need a method that is capable of actually identifying and measuring CX.
We need VOC (Voice of the Customer) tools that can help customers to tell their brands what they want proactively.
CRM software also needs some journey mapping tools integrated in the CRM software’s marketing, sales and support processes, along with intelligent and automated NBO (Next Best Offer) or NBA (Next Best Action) to recommend the ideal answer, offer or response, which are just not based on what is good for the company, but after surveying the customer’s profiles and recommendations, what is good for both the brand and its individual customers.
If we know what is CRM, we shall all agree that CRM is a strategy that creates connections, grows customer relationships, can withstand competitor encroachments and disruptive technologies to achieve strategic objectives like customer lifetime value, loyalty, advocacy, customer retention for increasing margins and revenues.
Therefore, in the future, we need some technological enablement, which can deliver just the optimal info that is required by the resources for creating engaging touch-points, customer interactions, or moments of truth for improving decisions, resolutions, customer transactions, experience or relationships.
What we mean over here is that we do not need the proverbial 360-degree view of the customers, but just that 5 or 10- degree view that is needed at that point of time which can help to orchestrate a customer journey that delivers rewarding, consistent and memorable customer experiences.
Therefore in the future CX technology and BPM (Business Process Management) tools should not be separated from the CRM, but these must morph and so easy to use CRM vendors of the modern times should plan accordingly.
More Business Customer Intelligence
In the present times, the changing business culture is moving away from gut-based, opinion-driven or trial and error decision making processes to fact-based, data-driven decision-making strategies.
Therefore, although most easy to use CRM software solutions offers basic, historical information reporting, looking forward we need a tool integrated in the CRM that can permit businesses to understand the sociological attributes of the customers by evaluating each customer’s “Likes”, re-Tweets, forwards or comments in the social channels to create a highly customer specific social graph.
We need our future CRM technology to collate online data from web browsing patterns, social networks, forums and communities and then append those data of the customer’s social attributes to the customer profile in the CRM system so that it can improve customer segmentation, offer better fit products and services that influence loyalty and deliver more relevant messages to the customers.
Here are some additional asks:
• How about an algorithm that can look into existing churn pattern and customer profiles and alter businesses which customers are likely to leave?
• How about implementing ‘Bayesian’ algorithms that can look into segments of the customers and examine cohorts such as each customer’s existing purchases, and apply relative predictive analysis to find the most likely accepted cross-selling and up-selling offers for the customers?
• How about using advanced social monitoring tools in the CRM that can analyze what customers are thinking about your products, your competitor’s offerings, and correlate the analysis of these two sentiments to help improve product mix, sales efforts, advertising expense, marketing spent, market share, loyalty programs, customer share, profit measures and specific cost of your offerings?
• How about taking a step ahead and correlate customer sentiment analysis with specific market indicators, an array of economic factors, competitor moves and other factors that can help businesses to uncover patterns to change their business models for improving customer consumption and thereby boost company performance?
• How about making your CRM tell you which customer is offering the greatest revenue potential at any particular point of time for a particular range of offerings or show which customers are delivering negative profits?
• How about integrating a Revenue Performance Management system into the easy to use CRM that is capable of manipulating business planning, see its impact, and thereafter after adjusting your business strategies accordingly?
We know these are some of the functionalities and tools that can be found in silo software solutions outside the CRM arena.
Nevertheless, knowing how much of CRM data goes unused, where users of present CRM technology are drowning in data but starving for information; consolidating, mining, and appending data in the CRM database to understand how to delight the customers and create different customer experiences is what is need for envisioning the future of CRM technology that no CRM vendors offer now but will not survive if they are incapable of providing it in the days to come.