Until the 1990s, the markets were product and service centric. Then came the internet, and things changed.
The 2000s were the era of the customer, who became more educated and aware. They started demanding better value for the price. The internet also fueled higher competition in every sector, thus increasing customer choice.
This trend has continued to evolve into the current scenario, which is the era of relationships. Businesses and brands listen to customers and give them what they need. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has played an indispensable role in helping brands achieve this.
CRM essentially works on two frameworks – operational and analytical.
Operational frameworks are concerned with the automation of business processes to build long-term, profitable relationships with specific customers. Analytical frameworks focus on analyzing customer characteristics and behaviour to help decide how to allocate resources to the most profitable customer group.
Both these frameworks will get a boost in coming times. Here are 7 CRM trends that will dominate 2019.
1. Data Mining Will Gain Prominence
Data mining is a “process that uses statistical, mathematical, AI and machine learning techniques to extract and identify useful information and subsequently gain knowledge from large databases.”
Companies have collected mounds of customer information. But they’ve fallen short in using it. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and deep learning, companies will begin to mine data more effectively to benefit customers and themselves.
2. Social CRM Will Boost Relationships
Social CRM highlights the desire of customers to engage in collaborative conversations and helps companies achieve this.
Companies will adopt Social CRM not just to capture customer data from multiple social media platforms, but also design experiences for customers that make them offer tangible value in return in form of attention, engagement, and advocacy.
3. Companies Will Go Beyond Expectations
Customer service has become commonplace today. It is expected if a company wants to survive. Companies that will thrive in 2019 will go a step further. They will offer an amazing customer experience.
By 2020, customer experience will supersede price and quality as the key brand differentiator. 86 percent customers are already willing to pay up to 25 percent more for better customer experience.
That’s why companies that take customer experience to the next level will get rewarded with increased customer lifetime value and transaction size.
4. Response Times Will Come Down
Despite customers engaging with companies through various channels – customer support, social media, and stores and so on – they expect quick responses.
A Forrester research stated that over 75% of adults said that valuing their time was the most important thing a company could do to provide good service. Research by Gartner found that poor response times increased customer churn by up to 15%.
Companies will turn mindful of this and use integrated tools like WhatsApp to respond faster to their customers. CRM will also enable companies to set stronger processes to improve their customer support.
5. CRM Adoption Will Increase
On one end of the scale, CRM adoption within companies is as low as 24%. On the other end, it’s as high as 90%. Companies with high CRM adoption have also reported a rise in their productivity.
In 2019, to provide better customer experience, companies will hire better (read tech-savvier) talent who don’t just know how to operate CRM tools but also use them to their benefit.
That will boost the average CRM adoption beyond the current 47 percent.
6. CRM Will Become Easier to Use
Many CRM providers have now entered a market, which, was dominated by Salesforce, Adobe and Microsoft earlier. The success of such tools i.e. their adoption rate will depend on how easy they are to use.
According to an IBM survey, users rank ease of use as the most important aspect for a CRM followed by features like scheduling, emailing and instant messaging, and data snapshots. So CRM companies will focus on providing value to their customers in form of a better customer experience.
7. Cloud Will Stay a Popular Platform
In 2008, 88% of CRMs were operated from client premises and systems. Today, 87% CRMs hosts on the cloud. This trend will continue in 2019. It is still sometime before Cloud gets displaced as the popular platform to host CRM software.
The same holds true for mobile CRM. While 65% of companies using mobile CRM reported meeting their targets, only 22% without could match theirs.
With about 337 million smartphone users in India, mobile has become an integral part of people’s lives. Hence, more of them will adopt mobile CRM to benefit their companies in 2019.
Customers are now calling the shots about products and services that the marketplace should offer. And brands are toeing in line. CRM has always been more than just a tool. It has been a comprehensive process of acquiring and retaining customers with the help of business intelligence, to maximize customer value to the organization.
In 2019, this system will only provide more value to organizations that embrace it.