CRM Trends and Innovation

With the rise of technological advancements, customer demands have rapidly changed over the past few years. They now use a wide range of digital channels, platforms, and devices to communicate with brands, seek help, and make purchases. 

Savvy consumers expect brands to provide seamless, secure, and relevant shopping experiences across various online and offline channels. Multi-channel interactions, touchpoints, events, and purchases have become a vital element of the ever-expanding Customer Relationship Management (CRM) landscape. 

Omnichannel interactions improve customer service and boost user satisfaction. To enable them, you need to invest in CRM technologies.

CRM tools optimize the sales and customer service process by keeping customer and lead contact information in a central location. Employees across various departments, including sales, marketing, and customer service, can access customer data faster. That way, they can provide customers with highly targeted service and marketing campaigns.

Over the past ten years or so, CRM tools have come a long way, from centralized databases to AI-powered customer service. 

In this article, we cover the essential CRM trends for 2021. 

The Growing Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) includes various technologies, such as machine learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing, and robotics. The adoption of AI in the business landscape is growing at an astounding rate. Statistics back me up on that. According to the 2020 State of Marketing report, marketers using AI jumped from 29% in 2018 to 84% in 2020

One of the most valuable CRM trends is predictive analytics that provides 360-degree insights into customers and fuels conversion rates.

Predictive analytics brings customer data to the fore. Artificial intelligence users the existing data stored in your CRM system to make better predictions. These data-driven market estimates can inform your sales and marketing efforts and deliver more relevant customer experiences.

One such example is customer data segmentation. Today, companies break their customer bases down into narrower segments based on various factors, such as their age, gender, location, sentiments, past purchases, etc. 

AI can help you identify patterns in customer behavior. It recommends steps to sales and customer service agents to maximize user experiences. Namely, artificial intelligence analyzes the data your employees enter into the CRM tool. 

Based on these criteria, it provides your sales and customer service agents with invaluable suggestions. For example, they would deliver product offers that are in line with customer needs. That way, they can close the sales cycle faster and upsell orders more effectively. 

Efficient Business Process Automation

Companies have been using CRM tools to automate their basic workflow for years. It helps your agents make faster and more informed customer service decisions. 

For example, say that a customer’s order status has changed. The CRM tool would remind a customer service representative to reach out to a customer and notify them about the change. 

Therefore, workflow automation is the nerve center of almost all CRM tools. AI technologies benefit it in multiple ways.

Task Automation

Advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, take workflow automation to a whole new level. Namely, AI-driven CRM features can assign the right tasks to the right people. They can also provide step-by-step instructions on what actions to perform. 

Whether a customer reaches out via live chat, call center, or email, the CRM will analyze their service inquiry and send it to the agent capable of resolving it. Based on the customer data it collects, the CRM system guides the agent during the conversation. 

Task Distribution

Another valuable benefit of AI-driven CRM tools is their ability to distribute tasks. In the past, businesses needed to invest in separate Business Process Monitoring (BPM) tools. They consist of complex algorithms that analyze employee performance company-wide and route tasks accordingly. 

Today, BPM capabilities are embedded into the architecture of advanced CRM tools. They offer a wide range of features, including skill prioritization, resource availability, task routing, and event monitoring. Therefore, small businesses can have BPM features within their CRM tools. That increases the overall workplace efficiency and helps them reduce costs.

Seamless Data Integration

Businesses use a wide range of cloud-based solutions to manage and streamline business operations. Some of these tools include accounting, ERP, and billing systems. 

The primary goal of any CRM tool is to bring these tools together and keep massive amounts of customer data in a central location. 

One such example the use of Gmail CRM for customer service. Your sales and customer service representatives can manage a unified customer base on the cloud rather than creating separate ones. That simplifies the process of data sharing and management, allowing them to deliver seamless and consistent customer service. 

The CRM integration mechanisms consist of enterprise service bus (ESB), application programming interfaces (APIs), file integration, computer telephony integration, etc.  Here are a few CRM trends these technologies drive:

Hyperconnected Customer Service

The advance of the cloud has opened the door to new data integration capabilities. Today, many customer services, such as Google Maps, social networking, instant messaging, and government subscription services, are delivered via the internet. 

Modern cloud-based CRM systems have communication protocols that provide access to data using web services. That enables companies to use multichannel contact centres to improve customer service, and seamlessly communicate with other organizations and service providers, such as credit bureaus, to gain customer data faster and simplify service requests to gain customer data faster and simplify service requests.

The Internet of Things 

The Internet of Things (IoT) also plays a crucial role in the CRM ecosystem. Smart automobiles, home sensors, medical devices, fitness bands, refrigerators, garage door openers – those are just some of the numerous examples of internet-connected objects we use in our everyday lives. According to research studies, the number of IoT devices worldwide will reach 64 billion by 2025.

For example, customers can use their IoT devices to inform manufacturers about any product errors, maintenance needs, improper usage, etc. The data is sent to the company’s CRM system, allowing its representatives to provide faster and more efficient customer service. 

The Use of Blockchain Technologies in CRM

Blockchain technologies represent an open, immutable ledger that simplifies the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in your company’s network. An asset could be anything, from cash to intellectual property. In other words, anything of value can be monitored and traded via the blockchain network, minimizing risk and reducing costs for everyone involved in the process.

But, what does blockchain has to do with CRM trends? 

For starters, blockchain technologies can make customer service and data collection safer. Modern CRM tools are built in the cloud. Most of them come with advanced cybersecurity features, such as data encryption or multifactor authentication. However, they still represent centralized security systems, and as such, they are easy targets for cybercrime. 

For organizations storing sensitive and highly confidential customer data in CRM systems, investing in blockchain should be your top priority. Blockchain is distributed across regularly synchronized peer-to-peer networks. Therefore, breaking into the network and stealing customer data is almost impossible. 

Better Transparency

Blockchain is decentralized and requires no middlemen in transactions. That enables your company to deliver customer service faster and more efficiently. 

Simplified Data Management

Companies using CRM systems often struggle with inaccurate, outdated, and duplicate data. That leads to frustration and compromises the performance of your customer service department. 

Blockchain technologies address this problem. Users can now have personal keys to personal information, previous interactions, subscriptions, and so forth. That provides a more trusted and consistent data source for both consumers and companies.

Tech Innovations and CRM Solutions are a Match Made in Heaven

Advanced technologies, such as predictive analytics, process automation, data integration, and blockchain technologies, can significantly improve customer service efficiency. These CRM trends reduce the risk of human error, streamline repetitive processes, and boost customer data transparency. Most importantly, they eliminate the silos between your customer service, sales, and marketing teams.

By strategically adopting these technologies, you will build a customer-centric company culture and provide more relevant user experiences. That helps you improve sales and inspire customer loyalty in the long run.

What CRM technologies do you use? Please, share your thoughts on the latest CRM trends with us!

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