CRM Is Now Customer Experience Management

by Wrik Sen    Jul 25, 2016

Suman Reddy

‘Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is now actually about Customer Experience Management’, as per Suman Reddy, the Managing Director of Pegasystems, a strategic application developer for enterprises, in the evolutionary area of CRM. In an exclusive interview with CXO Today, Suman Reddy gives insights into how CRM is a different evolutionary ball-game altogether, and how it is increasingly focusing on evolving customer engagement through digital transformation.

How do you manage to be the differentiator in the industry?

Pegasystems has been in the world of business process management and customer relationship management for over three decades now. In the digital economy space, our latest generation of products aim at transforming customer experience across three different channels: sales, marketing and service. Most organizations struggle with multi-channel functioning.

By providing unified experience across silos is how we differentiate ourselves against everyone else in the industry. Firms who work with Fortune 500 are the first ones who are going through the revolution experience and thereby transform themselves by enabling the multi-channel experience; which is optimized. Customer decision power is different across silos. Whether you are a customer in the CRM world, sales channel, marketing channel or the service channel, we leverage the power of decisioning and analytics for every transaction and hence make it a guided interaction. A guided interaction of what we call as the next best action.

Customer service these days is done with tremendous amount of intelligence, support and by the whole data analytics platform that is embedded across the different channels and that’s a very unique value proposition for anyone who is looking at CRM in depth. 

Would this include things like predictive analytics or predictive algorithm which is picking up now-a-days in India. 

There are two parts to it. One is the actual predictive analytics which is based on all of the data available. The other is what we call as adaptive intelligence. 

Predictive analytics: You have structured and unstructured data, and basically have go through all this data to form insights into what the customer experience is. For example, today’s customer is very advanced because they do all the research before they come to you. They make all the purchasing decisions. 80 per cent of purchasing decision is made even before they interact with the sales guy. So, when they come in with a particular intent, that they want to buy a particular product, the last thing you want to do is to upsell or cross sell another product. Now this cannot happen with a naked eye for a normal human person. So, here is where predictive analytics gives you that opportunity to understand what part, what layer of customer journey the person is in. So we provide intelligence to the sales person to predict the particular product the person is going to buy. We provide that intelligence. 

Adaptive intelligence: Because you make all the predictions but it’s very important that you have to adapt to a time where your deep machine learning will come in, essentially to ensure that these interactions over a period of time become much more accurate, much more timely, through constant learning mechanisms, what we call as, adaptive learning. And they both work hand in hand. 

In light of that, how do you see CRM changing and making a difference? What are the different kind of changes that you notice? 

CRM not just customer relationship management, it’s also customer experience management. In the past, customer interaction points were very limited. The customer would contact the service department, sales department or the marketing department directly and these departments were disjointed functions. We are now transforming this to create a unified customer journey by:

a. Unifying all the channels to give only one unified experience to the end customer 

b. The usage of data in analytics to help the customer journey

Based on your last point, would you also include that these could be the bottom-line differentiators in the industry for CRM based enterprises like Pegasystems? 

Undoubtedly. Due to globalization, personalization has taken a back seat in every field of service. Personology as a concept is being re-introduced in the industry to an extent where employees are expected to do courses and have certifications on personology. In the marketing world, this was known as segmenting and marketing, where you figure out a group of individuals and you create strategies for a certain segment of people based on their compensation, their networks etc. That has now transformed to marketing of one. There is no more of grouping of segments. A customer expects that he would be understood, in a unique way, because he is different from everybody in this world and that is the big transformation that you see in the whole customer relationship management world. For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland looks at personalization and predictive analytics as more of a science.

Are there any industry specific challenges that you see? And if so, how do you foresee enterprises standing up to these challenges? 

Each industry has their own different challenges. For example, in the field of manufacturing or automobiles, GM is doing something called ‘onstar programs’ where they expect customers to understand and get the diagnostics. All the GM vehicles that are produced now have an onboard dashboard which help the customers prevent car breakdowns, or get timely messages about getting their vehicle to the service shop etc. by using analytics and big data. But more importantly the other aspect they are getting into is that, for example, if someone has a great driving record for the last 10 years, that data can be automatically sent to the insurance company which will enable you to get a reduction in the insurance premium. One challenge that every industry is facing right now is exclusion of data. However, within each industry the challenges are very different. The biggest challenge is that customers are expressing, experiencing or expecting a lot of personalized care, irrespective of the channel that they come through, and expect a lot of analytical approach to how you solve their problems. Using IoT and big data to enhance the customer experience is the most common challenge that the industry faces. 

Does that mean the service quality management has to be balanced between the other counter of weight, in terms of quantity of data, or quantity of information coming through. 

Absolutely. It is important to understand and separate the noise from the actual insights. The big challenge of having big data is that, predictions need to be accurate and that needs to be done by differentiating between appropriate data in comparison to noise that’s coming out of the data that you are generating. 

Finally, which are the specific kinds of technology or which specific technology do you foresee making the main differences in the CRM industry? 

Each product is based and built on traditional technologies and programming languages like the JAVA’s, the pythons and a lot of open source that’s out there in terms of machine learning etc. I think industries are going to continue to evolve on the traditional technologies which are open source spaces. 

But more importantly, looking at all the CRM software in the world, our prediction is that, ultimately the companies that make a difference are those who are gaining the speed of market. We are betting big on modern driven architectures. We consider ourselves as a company that’s built for change. Modern driven architecture is where we empower business people to make real time technology decisions. One does not have the leverage or the luxury of having IT people take their own time to build the systems. You want these changes to happen in real time. And that’s what we call built for change phenomenon, which can only be driven through modern driven architecture. So, we are pretty big on these modern driven architectures. 

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