2017 has just begun, which makes this a good moment to take a look ahead at the new year and trends in the realm of Customer Relationship Management.
Trend 1: intuitive interfaces
Usage of a CRM system should make so much sense that the learning curve for a new user is gentle. And that goes for the desktop version and the mobile version alike.
Trend 2: the boundaries between desktop and mobile are becoming blurred
The line between usage of desktop and mobile versions of CRM systems is set to become increasingly thin. Users seek a user-friendly and intuitive CRM solution that materially improves their ability to maintain communications with leads, clients, and other contacts. This is a logical development, as CRM users spend a decent number of hours on the road. Spending the latter part of the day at the office to enter all of the details into the CRM system is neither efficient nor user-friendly. The CRM system has to fit into the user's workflow; one of the consequences of the blurring of the boundaries between desktop and mobile is that the software can be better integrated into the workflow.
Trend 3: real-time data
Real-time data is playing an increasingly important role within Customer Relationship Management. Data must be accessible and up to date, in any place and at any time. This offers CRM users opportunities to rapidly take advantage of buying signals and other changes.
Trend 4: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, combined with real-time data, yields opportunities to respond directly to potential buying signals and other possibilities. Artificial Intelligence can actively aid the user by providing suggestions for particular actions. For example, a user may get a notice in the CRM system that a new customer accessed the online manual for a piece of equipment they had purchased. In the future, the CRM system could make the suggestion to give this new customer a quick call to ask if, and to what extent, everything is clear and working satisfactorily. The CRM system's proactive role means that Customer Relationship Management can be utilized even more effectively.
Trend 5: predictive data
Responding to current trends is one thing, but anticipating trends and developments offers further added value. Artificial Intelligence and real-time data are still often focused on the here and now. But in the future, AI could be deployed for making data-based predictions. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and predictive data is sure to lead to many great changes to come in the area of Customer Relationship Management in particular.
Trend 6: automation
Automating particular processes can lead to greater efficiency. In this area, too, experts are predicting major developments. Artificial Intelligence is being mentioned in this context as well. Chat bots are making their debut in customer service, and they're getting smarter all the time. This trend seems likely to continue into 2017.
Trend 7: integrating self-service
Customers have become used to online shopping and the convenience of unrestricted opening times. Hence, the integration of advanced self-service is being mentioned as an opportunity in this context. ‘Let customers take care of things themselves, at the time of their choosing.’ The integration of advanced self-service options should result in an optimal customer experience at minimal cost. Chat bots could make an important contribution to this.