CRM world is rapidly moving as new types of wowing customers are being explored by organizations around the world. Web 2.0 has helped amplify customer experiences – both negative and positive – and has given substantial push to customer focused management across the world. In the past 5 years, a lot of new ways of interacting and engaging customers have come up. In this post, I will cover the top 7 trends in the CRM world.
Tight integration of customer feedback with product development
Customer feedback can no longer be an afterthought – it must be right at the center of an organization’s thought process. Many organizations are increasingly tapping the crowd for their product development. Survey tools have also substantially improved, making it very easy for people to leave feedback in a host of different places – Facebook pages, Twitter accounts apart from traditional emails and paper forms. Customer feedback of employee evaluation and idea evaluation will also become a priority in the next couple of years.
It’s the interface, stupid
Enterprise users were always second class citizens when it came to interface. While consumers got jazzy UIs, the enterprise guys were left with clunky ones with unintuitive interaction surfaces. iPhone started to change that in 2007 by putting a cool phone that could be used even in the enterprise. Now, there is a significant trend that sees enterprise guys as real humans too and give them good user interface to make their jobs easier.
The rise of a trend in working from mobile devices, working at home and increasing reliance on freelancers/contractors is having an impact on the CRM world. Mobile access to the Customer Data has become very essential to conduct productive meetings on the field. This has led to more powerful mobile applications that connects to your customer database and provide rich tools at the device that can effectively match your desktop interactions. To read more, see our earlier post on mobile CRM.
A few years ago, customer interaction was mainly limited to two channels – phone and snail mail. Then email became a viable mode of customer interaction. But, customers don’t want to restrict themselves to just these modes and want to interact in different ways depending on their convenience.
Thus, organizations are providing more than a dozen interaction points with the customers, allowing them to interact with the company through Facebook pages, Twitter mentions, Live Chat on webpages, LinkedIn groups, GetSatisfaction communities, SMS, mobile apps, forums, blog posts etc.
The CRM tool makers have noticed this and the trend right now is to integrate all these different channels so that you don’t miss a customer feedback left in any of those channels.
Social media powered CRM
it is no longer possible for businesses – both in B2B and B2C – to ignore the impact of social media. Even top executives are getting comfortable in using Twitter and Facebook. This makes social media as a very important tool to interact with your customer and engage them through that. Read our earlier post on social CRM to learn more on this trend.
Cloud based CRM
Cloud is the latest trend in enterprise IT. Organizations are moving from in-house IT servers to the cloud for reasons including reducing cost, increasing reliability and tuning up the performance. Cloud based CRM tools like Salesforce and Highrise have already made big inroads into the enterprise market and we see the trend accelerating in the next couple of years. Read our earlier post on cloud CRM to learn more about this.
Focus on Consumer Engagement Management
Last, but not the least, organizations are moving away from merely collecting customer feedback to actively engaging them and wowing them. Zappos, Apple, 37 signals, Rackspace have all made their mark by focusing hard on CEM (customer engagement management) and a right CEM strategy can greatly pay off the investment put in, with increased sales and brand value. Read our earlier post on customer engagement management to learn more on this.