The age of the customer is already in its heyday, but many businesses still cannot seem to acclimate to this newly established order. With customer-centricity being nothing less than an imperative, we’re now looking for innovative ways and tools for building long-term relationships in 2018 and beyond.
These are the latest CRM trends and predictions, as forecasted by field experts.
CRM: Tools and Philosophy
Before we dive any deeper into the future, let’s first focus on what we currently know. Customer relationship management has long been hailed as one of the essential practices for exponential growth, but today its methods and techniques are only effective as long as they are supported with the right tools.
“What is a CRM system?” is a question that could be answered with both technical definitions and promising use cases, but we will choose neither. Instead, we’ll tell you that CRM as a tool is a necessity for every business that’s doing its best to stay relevant and competitive in a customer-centric market.
Customer relationship management has turned into a philosophy for the new age of business, thus urging organizations to adopt new, highly personalized and creative approaches while interacting with the receiving end. But, where there’s urgency, there’s pressure too, and CRM tools are here to help.
The Evolution of Modern-Day Solutions
Organizations of times gone by and businesses operating in a pre-internet era were perpetually challenged by the amount of customer data that, much like today, had to be collected and analyzed for future improvements. It wasn’t until the 90’s that first contact management tools were revamped.
Even then, in the early days of CRM software systems, this technology had little to offer but searchable repositories of customer data. Though collaboration was still limited and analytics were unrefined, the original CRM solutions served an important purpose in relationship building and customer retention.
Today, CRM tools are capable of streamlining virtually all aspects of a business. They are cloud-based, mobile, and scalable, equipped with intuitive UIs and UXs, and designed to tackle everyday challenges of lead generation, marketing, sales, and customer service. And, they promote real time collaboration.
What Does the Modern Customer Want, Anyway?
The modern-day customer is tech-savvy, educated, and resourceful. Your ideal buying persona spends their time on social media, browses, buys, and orders online, and expects their consumer needs to be respected and catered to in a blink of an eye. And that’s not a blind guess, but a hard fact.
Successful customer relationship management has to comply with these requirements. So far, our CRM systems have served us just fine. Tomorrow, however, they might no longer suffice. That’s why this technology is changing, improving, and evolving even as we speak.
Here’s what you can expect in the near future.
BI is Becoming Artificial and More Actionable
CRM is fueled by customer data, serving as an invaluable business intelligence for both day-to-day improvements and long-term strategizing. AI will soon be able to harness and analyze big data, thus reducing manual work and automating a big part of business-to-customer interactions. Such automation is followed by 24/7 accessibility, precision, and a drastic increase in customer convenience.
The Advent of Social CRM That’s Long Due
Marketing automation is already an important part of state-of-the-art CRM systems, but the future will bring further advancements in the field of integrated CRM experiences. This will include social media too, and cater to all digital businesses that are interacting with their audiences via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Chatbots and social CRMs will join forces to unlock new levels of engagement.
Sophisticated Workflows and Customized Hubs
It’s all for the customer, of course, whether it’s straightforward or unnoticeable. CRMs will keep improving our front-office operations, arming both salesmen and helpdesk reps for success. But, they will also reinforce our back-office efforts, thus contributing to customer success from the background. Workflows and business processes will be the first to get more automated and further customized.
Tighter Synchronization with External Tools
A handful of business tools remain available exclusively as stand-alone solutions. Besides leading to data discrepancies and higher costs, switching between different tools raises the issue of inefficiency and unproductivity as well. Luckily, new CRMs are redefining the traditional meaning of the word “all-inclusive” – able to integrate with external tools, they guarantee an undisturbed workflow.
With customers becoming less patient every day, the only safe course for competitive businesses is the one that keeps up the pace with evolving technologies. CRM remains at the very forefront of these advancements by providing structure, automating processes, and keeping the customers satisfied.