CRM Trends in 2017

The development of digital technologies creates new opportunities for companies that wish to improve their customer relationship management. These quick transformations require important adaptation efforts from them to keep being efficient and better meet to the needs of the market. We will present you the main trends to be expected for the upcoming 2017 year.

Connected devices and real time datas : predict the clients’ needs and enhance his loyalty

Smarter interactions between companies and their customers are probably what defines best the current digital related developments. While more and more connected devices are being used, these devices, apps and household appliances generate an important data traffic that need to be used by businesses as a way to compete more efficiently. Investing in data storage solutions will be necessary to manage these datas, for enabling organisation to predict earlier than ever the needs of its customers. The quality of the offered services will be improves accordingly, as well as the retention rate.

In return, this instant data traffic will lead to a more customer centric approach, by eliminating the existing communication channels, and therefore getting closer to a “zero channel” experience : the CRM tools will centralise the ways they use to interact efficiently with the customers. And customers will be able to switch from one device, application, or media to another without any effort, starting to use products and services again exactly where it was last time they did.

The customer experience : a way to reach operational excellence and to build digital prestige

 Because they play a critical role between a business and its customers, smarter and smarter CRM tools will help organisation to enhance their processes as long as datas they collect are genuinely managed and used. Improving customer experience and operational excellence go together and lead to an increased efficiency. Customers’ opinions, as well as employees’ one, must be taken into consideration. As a consequence, the IT and department managers communicate more and more with each other. After a test phase, the famous Big Data projects should enter into operation in 2017. A clear sign of these developments? New positions, such as the Customer Experience Officer (CXO), are being created to meet the needs.

On the front end side, the Internet connectivity rate increases year after year, therefore building digital prestige is critical for all businesses. The customer experience play an important role in the buying process of new prospects, and this trend will for sure not decrease. It shows the level of excellence and transparency of each company, and it can be part of the communication strategy when necessary, by being displayed very close to products and services offered online.

Lastly, convergence of adtech and martech will intensify this year due to the fact that the technology has finally reach the required maturity level. Inbound and outbound campaigns will tend to unify more and more, this in order to increase the consistency and better meet the customers’ needs.

Human/robot convergence and automation : an important opportunity to be managed carefully

 The gap between human and robots is getting shorter, and marketing automation will keep on increasing in 2017, especially for CRM systems that will focus on artificial intelligence. Datas received from the different communication channels (phone calls, e-mails, website visits, etc.) lead to even more personalised and real time marketing automation, which in turn increase the number of conversions. When automation is used efficiently, the client will not feel any difference anymore between a robot and a human.

Even though it can seem surprising, customers are more and more comfortable with chat services. The success stories of Siri, Alexa (Amazon), Cortona or Écho are all showing that they have no reluctance from chatting with automated and near human channels.

But all these technological developments are not happening without risks, especially when the test phase is not managed with care. Uncontrolled operation can lead to opposite and unwanted effects that could be difficult to reverse. All these new deployments must be implemented gradually, assuring that the teams working with it know what do they deal with. Mixed methods of intervention will be used, so an agent could take control of a conversation in case specific situations are happening: he could bring more details if necessary, or when the discussion is switching from a simple process to a more complex one.

While the existing techniques could allow new projects to be implemented, the experiences are not yet matures and developments will tend to keep slow. Companies must protect themselves with the specific rules that meet their needs, and make sure that artificial intelligence systems are aligned with their overall objectives.

A successful CRM optimisation : integration with existing systems

Despite all these exciting opportunities, the CRM tools of tomorrow will need to deal with the existing systems of today.

Most of the businesses can’t afford to start from scratch, therefore they will have to spend a lot time with integration issues, as well as robot technologies, in order to close the gap between their current environment and the future digital experience they want to offer.

Sébastien’s passion for entrepreneurship led him to launch Solutions Metrix, a firm that specializes in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. As of 2008, Solutions Metrix manages hundreds of CRMs in eastern Canada and continues to offer CRM services to numerous Fortune 500 companies. Sébastien maintains a strong growth trend for Solutions Metrix by leading the mission to help Canadian companies be more competitive in data management for sales and marketing.
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