CRM has come a long way since the 1980s when contact management software was the closest most businesses came to anything that resembled modern customer relationship management. In the 1990s, technology that automated key processes began to shape CRM as we know it today. However, it wasn’t until a decade later that the right CRM could be a truly transformative tool for managing business relationships and delivering essential analysis and insight. Today, with the cloud enabling mobile CRM, customer relationship management is the most effective it has ever been – but what development can we expect from the next 12 months?
The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI coupled up with CRM could be revolutionary for business. With the addition of AI, systems will actually be able to learn from the data in a CRM, using it to predict need, find answers to long held questions and reduce manual work to a minimum through the use of increased, and more intelligent, automation. CRM + AI can be applied internally (analysing usage patterns to introduce automation to improve efficiency, for example) and also to customers – e.g. the ability to predict customer behaviour and need based on previous interactions and data.
This is the year in which we are likely to see much greater integration between CRM and external tools across sales, marketing, and customer support applications. Although most CRMs already have some integration, there is still some way to go before synchronisation is truly open and intelligent across platforms. Enabling better integration means that systems can communicate with each other effortlessly and seamlessly, driving user productivity and enabling both CRM and the integrated tools to deliver more.
The impact of social media continues to drive great change in the business world – and this is the year that we are mostly likely to see social CRM far more widely adopted. With social CRM businesses can use service bots in social networking sites to keep customers engaged and to develop stronger and more in-depth relationships. Positive engagement via social CRM will influence brand perception and help to create long-term customer loyalty. It will also provide a wealth of opportunities for getting to know customers with access to more data about customer opinions and behaviours.
CRM is now much more than just an organisational tool but can also be proactively used in relationship building. Using CRM data to get the right messages to the right audience at the right time offers significant advantages to any business. It also feeds into personalisation, which is crucial to effective messaging and currently a key trend in customer interaction. Once AI is also integrated it will be simple for businesses to “know” the best way to message customers to get the desired responses.
According to Gartner, those businesses that don’t have effective data and customer interaction management in place could be missing out on a 25% increase in new revenue. If you’d like to find out more about what an effective CRM could do for your business right now, please get in touch with MarketDeveloper today.