As a presales consultant I talk to many companies about their challenges and needs. Companies need to make decisions regarding improving their customer experience. CRM trends and trends in general are very depending on the type of business a company is dealing with. Some companies have to stay relevant and need to follow all trends as soon as possible, while others are far behind, but it will do no harm to their business. So each company needs to decide which improvement will fit into their customer needs. This overview lists some of the most important topics I see companies are working on this year.
Artificial Intelligence is doing better but…
In our daily life we all see that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used, for example with chatbots. Within SAP Cloud for Customer and other CRM solutions AI functionality is already available to support the business with their daily work like lead and opportunity scoring. However, in practise this functionality works only with enough data from a certain quality level. I see many companies struggling with their data quality at the moment. Artificial Intelligence will be on the agenda of companies, but I don’t expect big changes this year already.
Self-service you are welcome
Personalizing your customer experience is key to convince the customer to buy your products and to talk the same language. But I also see most customers like to have self-service options like you have in most business-to-consumer (B2C) scenarios. So making the solution specific with personalization is a key for success, but also self-service is needed now to convince the customer to buy your products. The good news is that this is not a difficult strategy to implement, meaning you can increase the customer experience a lot with adding self-service options.
Fine-tuning automated processes which will suite your business process can be very efficient. More triggers, actions and helpers can support the business process you have intended. Helping the business to fulfil the necessary steps on an easy way without too many mistakes. On the other hand, the system should stay flexible to fulfil different customer needs. A bit of human interaction should stay possible too.
Social is still there
Social CRM is not new. All companies have some kind of social strategy. It helps you to understand your customers, empowers customer support, gathering real-time feedback on products and services and it’s a contact channel for sales. However, I see most companies struggling with combining this data with the ‘normal’ CRM data. Integrating this data into one data platform is needed to make a major step.
Everything as a Service
More and more interesting functionalities will become available as a service. As a result, it is possible to build a system which will exactly match your needs with the services you need to have for your business. This opens new possibilities and from the user point of view it all looks like one solution.
Tell me what you need
Voice and conversational user interfaces (UI) can make administration more fun. We all know Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri to support automated processes in our home for example. Speech recognition is already very good, so there are no more blocking reasons to start using voice-controlled CRM solutions and functionality. In practise I still don’t’ see many companies working with this, except for dictating the visit report. I expect there will be some steps made this year, but embedding this as a natural thing in CRM will take some years.
Customer service as important as its features
84% of the customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. CRM technology is needed to meet the expectations of today’s customers. Customers also expect that companies know more about them. Providing the wrong information or not using available information from the customer will lead to dis-satisfaction. The following initiatives are important to support this:
- Enriched data to show full customer journey
- Accessible customer data across the organization or preferable have one platform with all the customer data like Customer Data Platform solutions.
- Communication using several channels and having self-service
Analytics for strategic decisions
From my experience in almost all projects the business expresses the need for some operational reports at the end of the project. Most management reports are based on logistics data coming from the backend. Only a few companies combine information from CRM with the logistic data from the backend. Bringing in more real time strategic reports combining data from different sources will increase the visibility for the management.