For a 30-year-old technology category, it is amazing to see the CRM (customer relationship management) industry continue to grow at a staggering rate. Why? Because CRM is at the heart of every business that wants to compete on customer experience. It enables companies to access 360-degree views of customers in real time to drive reliable, trusted, personal, and in-context experiences along customer journeys.
Here are three trends that are particularly important these days:
- Engagement moves to the edge. For years, customers have gravitated toward digital self-service for sales and customer service. Now, engagement is moving away from companies’ websites and their own digital channels toward third-party, digital touchpoints like asynchronous messaging channels, social media, voice apps, and even gaming consoles. David’s Bridal, for example, realized $30,000 in sales with Apple Business Chat in the first few weeks after launch. This year, companies are experimenting with conversational commerce, with the aim of achieving contextual engagement that’s consistent over any touchpoint or channel — owned or not.
- Hyperpersonalization underpins true one-to-one interactions. Your customers expect engagement tailored to their history, preferences, context, and intent. The result is highly personal content, offers, journeys, and connections with frontline resources. Companies have started to craft these experiences — like personalized offers, website content, or alerts — across narrow sets of channels and stages in the customer journey. They have started to incorporate demographic data, buying indicators, social data, life events, and relationship graphs. We are seeing companies use this data to drive unique customer engagement, deepen relationships, and encourage loyalty.
- Customer data and insights empower the customer front line. Renewals and expansions are important to a company’s success, especially with economic uncertainty. Firms must pay special attention to proper deployment, onboarding, and ongoing customer success to drive predictable revenue. Forrester sees the rise of the chief customer officer (CCO), who will be responsible for post-purchase activities, especially at B2B companies: 59% of CCOs we surveyed said that revenue growth is a high or critical business priority. We are seeing the blurring of customer success, onboarding, and CRM technologies. This will provide all frontline personnel with a better view of the customer’s value to the organization as well as attributes that influence churn. Democratized customer data and insights will become available when and where any frontline employee needs them — for example, in collaborative work spaces or office productivity tools. In addition, new CRM licensing models that focus on software consumption will emerge.