Success in the enterprise is heavily dependent on customer relationship management (CRM) which is one of the most efficient ways of building and retaining relationships with customers. As the digital age continues to evolve and leave us with more advancements in technology, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve with customer-focused strategies that utilize digital techniques to keep customers engaged and satisfied.
We asked Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner to share his views on CRM in the digital world.
Q: What are some of the current trends being implemented for CRM?
A: In 2015, organizations are focused on three top priorities for the future:
- Customer satisfaction
- Improving their customers’ experiences
- Using information to better understand their customers’ wants and needs
It is these objectives that are driving investment in many aspects of technologies. For example, a company may be investing in master data management, business intelligence and analytics in order to understand their customers better and to ensure that customer data is accurate at all points of interaction with the customer. Many organizations are modernizing their legacy systems in order to support their mobile and social workforce and customers, and to create a much more agile organization for the future.
Q: How do you harness the potential of social media in order to change customer engagement?
A: Social media is a source of contextual attributes and information that can be used for targeting many. Whether it is the brand I “like”, or the latest product that my friends purchased, public social media is a rich source of information. However, social media is not a one-trick pony. Social media is being used for customer support via tools like social media monitoring and sentiment analysis. Community sites, whether part of public social media or private communities, some of which are facilitated by the enterprise, can be used for customer support, customer communications, marketing, or new product/service ideas via crowdsourcing.
Therefore, it is important to recognize social media as one of many channels you’ll be engaging your customers for sales, service and marketing. It’s critical to look at social as a part of CRM rather than something independent. Organizations have seen tangible business benefits using social media to save money, and increase sales.
Q: What are some of the new strategies and technologies in the CRM space enhancing the overall customer experience in the digital age?
A: Organizations seeking to improve the customer experience need to adopt customer experience management best practices, such as creating a customer experience vision and strategy, and a mindset of customer process improvement. They can then use technologies like customer journey analytics to measure how the organization is doing at delivering its customer experience. Mobile and social technologies can also be used to find new ways to interact and support customers. An organization may also adopt technology to create a customer engagement hub to better support its customer and deliver customer service anywhere and anytime the customer wants it.
To be successful, think customer experience first, and technology as an enabler of the customer experience your organization wants to deliver.