Modern CRM is about better serving and supporting customers during their journey. It enables companies to form an emotional bond with their customers by looking out for their best interests. It empowers customer-facing employees with the right data and information about their customers at the right time so that they can focus on nurturing relationships. Here’s a great video from SugarCRM that nails what I am trying to say.
Drive CRM adoption with virtual assistants. Chatbots and voice-driven conversational interfaces like Siri and Alexa continue to penetrate our daily lives as consumers. In 2018, companies will look for voice-based access to CRM: to interact with email, set up activities, improve data entry, retrieval, and recommendations on the next best customer interaction to initiate. And, as natural language understanding (NLU) and voice recognition improve, conversational voice interfaces will handle increasingly complex interactions and multi-intent questions and answers.
Automate wherever possible. Process automation is nothing new – organizations use it to streamline contacting, manage leads and opportunities, to ensure compliance, and more. Companies now look at RPA to help them out. RPA software robots mimic the way that people interact with applications through a user interface. They automate end-to-end processes spanning more than CRM (such as account onboarding and insurance claims awards), freeing up CRM users for higher value work. Forrester predicts that in 2018, RPA will replace and/or augment 260,000 U.S. sales and related positions.
Use AI to boost outcomes. AI helps CRM users complete repetitive, predictable tasks — or take over those tasks completely — and interacts with customers autonomously to add value. Marketers will use AI to monitor customer journeys and proactively engage at points of opportunity. Sales teams will use AI to identify high-quality leads, mine the most useful relationships within companies, pinpoint the right contacts, and identify the most relevant sales collateral for buyers’ role. Sales will also use it for product bundling and discounting to maximize revenue per contract. And customer service teams will use it to recommend agents’ next best action or better route customers, classify cases, and optimize schedules.
--By Kate Leggett, Vice President, Principal Analyst
Read Forrester’s report on the five key CRM trends for 2018 here [subscription required].