With half of 2018 gone, is your business walking hand-in-hand with the digitization? Is your business equipped with a robust enterprise management system? Is your CRM game advance and up-to-date? Irrespective of the industry your business operates into, it is advisable to ask the following questions to yourself:
- Is your CRM game smart?
- Is your CRM solution helping you understand your customers?
- Is it flexible enough to befit your specific business needs?
Yes, it is the connected era and your CRM software ought to help you provide seamless customer experience whilst helping you understand customers better.
Good news is that the future of CRM is much brighter than you would have thought! Modern CRM systems are already helping businesses drive key operations including marketing, sales, customer support, etc. like never before. Interestingly, CRM sits at the core of an organization’s success roadmap. Evolving at lightning speed, the CRM landscape is accepting and blending next-level technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI)/machine learning, mobile, cloud, chatbot and much more.
Tech pundits believe that the future of customer relationship management is all about driving customer engagement and going digital that would span across sales, service, marketing, et al.
Chatbots for CRM
Be it ordering a pizza or wiring money through internet banking, you probably will come across a chatbot at some or the other point in your day. Yes, chatbots are reshaping the customer service and support ecosystem as we know it.
Though CRM solution is a great tool to streamline and automate sales/marketing processes, chatbots hold solid potential to improve your overall CRM strategy. Eureka! Improved customer satisfaction along with improved conversions.
As a chatbot is capable of taking up mundane and tedious chores, sales reps get to focus more towards the bottom-line i.e. sales. The time saved can be utilized to meet prospects, nurture leads and eventually, close deals. Above all, your sales rep can attend a new lead within the first five minutes of contact. Chatbots driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can be programmed to provide 24 x 7 customer support/service, which makes your five-minute response game stronger.
Further, a chatbot when integrated with your enterprise management system (ERP), social media channels, email partners and messenger will help extract essential customer data from diverse sources. This information can be anything like buying behavior, purchase history, transaction preferences, grievances, use profiles, etc. All this data when analyzed would present a holistic view of the customers while helping you identify current trends. Eureka! Did I mention customer intelligence at your fingertips?
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
AI is a blessing in disguise when it comes to automation. Yes, an AI-powered CRM software can help businesses turn more predictive and intelligent when it comes to assessing a customer’s preferences, penchants and needs. It does this by analyzing historical data of customers to come up with intuitive insights into patterns and trends pertaining to a customer’s buying behavior, preferences, needs, purchase history, etc. Machine learning on the other hand evolves thus adding more value to the CRM solution. Yes, machine learning algorithms interpret past communication and offers suggestions automatically to fortify your relationship with your customers. This is a boon to e-commerce businesses, since they encounter numerous customer interactions/transactions on day-to-day basis.
AI-powered CRM systems would help to:
- Automate customer’s activity tracking
- Suggest next relevant steps to sales reps
- Discover and prompt for underlying opportunities/leads in the sales pipeline
- Automate responses to basic customer queries
- Forecast close times for opportunities and leads based on historical data
Though CRM allows you to access customer information all from a single platform, it goes futile when it comes to interpreting the diverse types of communication that takes place between a business and its customers. For instance, if your CRM system flags a particular customer as ‘on-risk’, you may not have the transparency over it. Thus, you will have to navigate to figure out the reason behind flagging that customer as ‘on-risk’. Whereas machine learning on the other hand lets the CRM software to learn and ascertain on its own the exact reason behind such a recommendation. Yes, the self-learning capability empowers a CRM solution to decipher the ‘why’ and figure out the exact reason behind flagging a customer as ‘on-risk’.
Cloud computing is unnervingly the most prominent digital tech trends that is driving business ecosystem by a storm and will continue to do so. Thus, it shouldn’t come as surprise to witness an increasing number businesses embracing cloud based CRM solutions for driving optimum customer experience and success even on the run. Yes, a cloud based CRM software allows instant access to customer data anytime and anywhere. Cloud technology will continue to flourish. In fact, it is deemed to serve as a key catalyst in driving CRM adoption rates across the globe due to the flexibility and scalability it offers to small as well as mid –sized enterprises.
IoT (Internet of Things)
Time to do away with those tedious customer surveys, since AI and IoT are set to revolutionize the way we achieve customer satisfaction like never before.
A CRM system after receiving the data of customer would help its users to assess the data thus, tracking a customer’s journey across key events and metrics. In addition, artificial intelligence would help to compare this data to discover striking differences and similarities among several customers at lightning speed.
Now after getting the structured or filtered data such as server level or demographic, IoT can be put to use to identify the state of a given customer i.e., bad experience, neutral experience or good experience.
Though blockchain is a brave new tech trend on the block, it holds great potential in bridging customer data to sales, service and marketing departments seamlessly. Yes, integrating a customer’s history including all those purchase transactions along with the communication that took place between a customer and a business via its marketing, sales or service reps would offer a bird’s eye view of that particular customer. This is something that traditional CRM practices and tools simply fail to address and achieve.
Today’s customers are not only connected, but are also empowered than they were a few years ago, which doubles the pressure on marketing and sales. Nevertheless, having a smart and next-gen CRM software can help you understand your customers better thus, helping you serve them much effectively. Good news is that the future of CRM is lot beyond customer relations. Yes, days are not far when CRM will entirely reshape the way a business connects and works with its customers, partners and associates. In fact, it will be more like a Swiss army knife assisting businesses to understand and serve their customers in a much better and efficient manner.
Anwar Shaikh writes about AI, business intelligence, cloud, IoT and enterprise management systems including CRM, ERP and HRMS solutions. A writer at heart, Anwar is a Digital Marketing Manager with Sage Software Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of cost-effective cloud based CRM software to small and mid-sized businesses in India.