Data plays a trifecta of roles in the world of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It is the workhorse, the gift horse, and the dark horse.
Every single day, tons of data about customers are generated, warehoused, automated and interpreted. They are constantly put to work to enable your decision-making processes on customer experience. Data is also the prized possession of CRM practitioners. It should not be looked directly in the mouth; instead, it should be curated and retrieved intelligently at the right time, and for the right purpose. Likewise, it is the underdog of technology investments in the hyper-digital race for effortless customer experience. With the industry going gaga over artificial intelligence as a deal-maker in customer engagement, big data and analytics have been emerging as powerful game-changers of the future.
According to Forbes, “CRM software has shown a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1% from 2012-2017, leading all enterprise software categories in projected growth”.
Some of the types of customer-related data that drive CRM are:
Identity Data: The bread and butter of customer engagement, it comprises established data such as customer name, contact information and other basic personal details.
Quantitative Data: It provides transactional data on their buying behavior, and their multi-channel interactions (IVR, chat, email, social networks, etc) to help organizations understand what works and what does not, as far as the end experience is concerned.
Qualitative Data: It offers valuable drilled-down insights on what motivates the customer to go through with the purchase or otherwise, how strong their brand loyalty is, and whether they are thoroughly satisfied with the overall experience.
“We’ve spent the last 30 years focusing on the T in IT, and we’ll spend the next 30 years focusing on the I”
Peter Drucker, Senior Consultant & Author
The digitalization of modern-day CRM has an increased organizational dependence on data to craft productive and purposeful omnichannel customer journeys. The onus is no longer purely on where the customer is. Service strategies are now even more focused on where the customer will be, in his/her purchase journey with the organization. Clear milestones are being set for them to cross so that their engagement can be measured and improved upon.
Considering the explosion of communication channels, the power of interaction is in the hands of customers. They choose when, where and why a conversation should take place. Hence, it is of paramount importance that their needs are proactively met; and their relationship with the organization is intuitively strengthened. It is the only way that brand reputation can be positively managed, and differentiation can be achieved.
A recent study shows that “sales productivity increased by 26.4% upon adding social networking and mobile access to CRM application”.
As Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to make quantum leaps in experiential areas, the learning curve on leveraging Big Data and Analytics has been shortened. But, it has also opened up new avenues of virtual engagement. Furthermore, Machine Learning (ML) has kicked the door wide open for automation. With process automation taking over actions such as monitoring, scheduling and executing Next Best Actions, data is truly in the driver seat of customer engagement.
Here are some of the business benefits of future-proofing Customer Relationship Management with the power of data.
New Service / Solution / Product Differentiation
Using the data gathered from multiple channels, organizations gain a greater understanding of what their customers expect from them in the near future. Whether launching a new product line or offering a simple software upgrade, the real-time availability of customer data can go a long way to fine-tune new offerings.
Across domains, customers are encouraged to use self-service features. Often, it is the first line of defense in managing brand reputations. Through data analysis, organizations get a first-hand view of the success rate of their self-service channels, and they can improve it further based on the collated feedback.
Higher degree of personalization
“Personalization” is replacing “proactive” as the new buzzword in CRM. The customer of today is very likely to turn disloyal if his/her individual demands are not met. Through data insights, customer service can go beyond the realm of merely resolving issues and troubleshooting, and it can drive personalized experiences.
A customer experience strategy without a CRM plan is like a thoroughbred racehorse without an equestrian turf. A CRM plan without the influence of data is akin to a jockey riding that horse without a saddle.
For organizations to gallop, along with their customers, towards the bright horizon of superior experiences, it is pertinent to adopt the latest practices in CRM.
Customers are moving ahead with the times.
Why should the relationships that organizations manage with them be any different?