CRM: The Evolution in the Past 5 Years and Future Ahead

CRM Evolution

The CRM Industry seems to be in constant flux; at least for the last decade. It has come a long way from being a static excel replacement and a tedious data entry system to becoming an ever intelligent tool widely embraced by businesses today.

With the advent of open markets, real-time interactive broadcast platforms, new age mass communication tools and social media handles that blur the boundaries of geography, time, age and language, the consumer and its relationship with the brand has never been so delicately personal yet strongly public.

Cue the upsurge of internet, social media, and smartphones — and with them the Omnichannel customer experience. If you want to buy a pair of shoes, you have countless options at your fingertips. But what about personalization?

The present customer is no longer a passive acceptor of the product offered to him but is an active co-creator of the experience he expects. He is very choosy and well informed and knows what he needs. Armed with a multitude of information sources to guide their decision-making process, customers are inherently less loyal.

Their expectations are rising, and they no longer tolerate companies that can’t get the basics right. According to one study, 74% of online customers will shop elsewhere if their inquiries are not quickly answered, and most expect these online responses within an hour.

A report on the future of sales published by Walker predicts that customer satisfaction will become a key differentiator as soon as next year. According to the report, customer satisfaction will surpass price and quality in terms of importance by 2020.

Results from this report point out that 86% of customers are willing to pay 25% more for better customer experience. And there is so much on the agenda of CRM platforms in the market which is a sure indication that CRM industry is going to be evolving rapidly in the near future as it launches its own bandwagon for the latest digital trends of the year 2020:

Customer data and insights will propel better customer relationships

The CRMs of today can capture and store enormous amounts of customer data, from their birth date to their favourite colour. This data can be used to form deep insights into what each customer needs, their interests, and what challenges they face.

Companies going beyond just customer engagement, leveraging this data to form more personal relationships with their customers will thrive. This will result in enhanced productivity, better customer experience and increased customer loyalty.

Increased focus on customer retention initiatives with real-time support

Customer retention is of utmost importance to every business. It costs at least 6 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. Businesses are catching on, and customer engagement and retention initiatives are growing in popularity.

You can expect to see more companies using their CRM solution to automate these programs. Plus, new features will likely be added to CRM systems to facilitate this. In the digital world, real-time interaction might be the deal-breaker, without which you might miss a lot of opportunities.

Machine Learning and AI: A Quantum Leap towards a Smarter CRM

Machine learning provides the opportunity to transform your typical CRM platform and unstructured data into an intelligent predictive analysis system helping a company understand its customers. Intelligent self-service based chatbots using artificial intelligence is replacing manual queries, allowing companies to independently adapt to new data and produce reliable results.

Tractors replaced cattle, not the farmers. Similarly, AI will not replace workers but will empower businesses to focus more on customer success in ways we could never do before. AI provides an additional layer of intelligence to the data mining process. In 2020, we will see every line of business getting smarter with the nexus of AI, Machine Learning and CRM.

All-in-one CRMs with integrations and plugins will see a substantial amount of growth

Businesses will increasingly realize that they need to align the efforts of their sales, customer service, help desk teams. When each team is working in a different system and data is stored in silos, each team has a different perspective of who each customer is. Integrating those various systems so all teams can work off one source of data truth will help align how each team views each customer.

An all-in-one CRM includes traditional CRM capabilities, as well as sales enablement, service automation and help desk modules all on the same platform. This saves loads of time, reduces costs incurred by customers, and helps align your teams around common business goals. Some CRMs already come with built-in options to integrate with numerous third-party applications. This allows users to complete even more tasks in the same system.

Personalization will become more important and easier

With all the data you are now able to store about each customer, personalization is becoming better—particularly in service. We can expect to see new features added to CRM solutions that make personalization even easier—it’s an inevitable aspect of the future of CRM.

That is good news because consumers increasingly expect a personalized customer experience. A one-size-fits-all perspective is becoming less effective, and adopting an intuitive personalized solution will be a beneficial step for growth.

Social CRM will continue to grow

Many CRM solutions help you monitor social channels for brand mentions so you can respond as quickly as possible and engage potential customers. You can use social CRM features to schedule posts, manage customer complaints posted on social media sites, engage with potential customers, and more.

Plus, some CRMs offer the ability to use social CRM capabilities for managing incoming queries. This allows you to integrate with Facebook and Twitter to track inbound queries, nurture and convert them into future prospects. Social CRM is on the rise, and you can expect CRMs to incorporate more features that facilitate it into their products.

With so much competition and prices dropping, it will be imperative that businesses can use their CRM solution to keep customers engaged, satisfied, and loyal. CRM providers realize this and are already making moves to evolve their systems to facilitate a better customer experience.

More integrated, contextually-aware and intelligent CRM platforms will enable service and sales teams to define strategies with greater precision while measuring results achieved by sales teams better than ever before. CRM future developments are also predicated on how quickly APIs are redefining cloud platforms. Using APIs to integrate with enterprise applications is just the beginning.

CRM will continue to foster overall enterprise software growth, as the technologies and strategies they support have a direct contribution to revenue growth. Not to mention, they can be measured by new customer acquisition, retention and gross margin growth. Due to all of these factors, the future of CRM is among the brightest in all of the enterprise and cloud-based software.

Source: CIOL

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