Forrester analyst Bill Band tells MyCustomer.com about “untamed process”, the emergence of BPM-focused CRM and how customers can re-architect to tame these processes.
The emergence of customer experience as the key brand differentiator has resulted in a major shift in how brands both view and approach their customers, becoming much more customer-centric. Rather than being ideal initiatives, analyst firm Forrester predicts that customer experience will instead take the form of clear and actionable strategies with experience management emerging as a discipline.
However, an organisation’s maturity in any discipline stems from adopting and consistently performing a set of sound, repeatable practices. Whilst traditional CRM systems provide strong support for customer information management they do not support Forrester's notion of the “untamed” processes that touch the customer.
Leading the foray in examining these untamed processes is analyst Bill Band, whose recent report Navigate the Future of CRM outlines key trends brands should consider when trying to succeed in the ‘age of the customer’.
Described by Forrester as requiring a “a balance of human and system support, and cross department, technology, information, and packaged application silos to meet end-to-end business outcomes”, Band explains
that in short untamed processes are those that touch the customer and require a lot of management amongst people, documents or information.
“There are several elements that define these untamed processes,” he says.
“There’s usually a set of activities that cut across functional silos or departmental organisations so if you're trying to resolve a service complaint, it might come in through the call centre and then someone may have to reach out to a subject matter expert to get information and dive into a knowledge FAQs database, check a contract or a legal requirement.
“The other element is where you need collaboration of people as well as when where you need data from a lot of different elements; it's not just what's in the CRM system with a profile but you might need contract information, order info, FAQs. Then there’s also the notion of rules – the ability or requirement to be able to have some way of directing the process or the people to what things they should do under what scenario.”
Examples of untamed processes include investigative (regulatory queries, IT governance, audit requests); service requests (underwriting, benefits administration, customer service); incident management (dispute resolution, acute healthcare); and sales and marketing (online sales, offer management).
Band explains that the negative effects of untamed processes are important to address as they’re typically the type of problems that plague customer relationships in general – not being able to respond to customer queries in an efficient and effective way, not having data available to recognise the customer, giving customers poor information because the agent is unable to serve them properly, and the widely-regarded multi-channel issue.
In attempting to move beyond solving these processes with traditional CRM solutions, Band explains that organisations are moving into more business process management (BPM)-focused solutions, which allow firms to manage rules and the branching process that occurs with multi-department organisations.
“As organisations take the path of focussing on customer experience they start to identify where their customer experience problems are – often in the areas of untamed processes. So companies have recommitted to improving the customer experience, they see this gap. They can’t be solved just with a traditional CRM solution by itself.”
Unlike traditional CRM solutions, BPM solutions have the ability to model or define business processes. The analyst explains: “Process-centric CRM takes a more process view of the problem and that means looking at the customer journey – how they go through their interactions with the company and mapping those business processes against the customer journey as they research and buy a product, which they then want tell their friends and neighbours about. Traditional CRM is more of a data-centric view.”
However, like all trends in the CRM world, a convergence is taking place between the two CRM solutions. Business process players – Band names PegaSystems and the recently acquired Sword Ciboodle – and the more traditional players such as Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and Microsoft are coming together and swopping capabilities.
“The CRM solutions are adding more business process capabilities and the business process management guys are growing fairly quickly because they've cottoned onto this untamed process gap in the market and are starting to focus on this customer service incident management on boarding processes. There's a convergence going on.”
Upon adopting these solutions, the primary benefit for the customer is an increased ability of the company to interact in a more personalised way.
He says: “If the company has the right information put in the hands of the right employee with the right set of rules and direction as to how to interact with that specific customer in that specific incident then the customer gets treated in a more unique way which is the ultimate idea of how to have a good customer experience.”
The future of BPM/CRM
Band concludes that the growth of the process-based CRM market and its future are two-fold. He says: “It goes back to the root which is this growing desire to improve customer experience on the one hand and on the other hand the emergence of these BPM-centric solutions who are now providing more focus on untamed processes.
“The customers' needs have gotten sharper and then the technologies have got more mature to be able to solve those problems so it's a chicken and egg situation where we see more interest in this area.”