The human factor in CRM

In recent years, innovative technology has changed the field of sales and relationship management: social selling, online stores, big data, chat bots. The end of all these changes is certainly not yet in sight. However, one thing we would like to point out: don’t forget the human factor within CRM!

CRM, the Human Factor

The R in CRM is there for good reason. In fact, it is the center of attention! It’s not customer management, but customer Relationship management. And as with any relationship, it is about mutual interaction and attention. Although you can also build relationships online, human contact still plays a role in sales and business relationship management, perhaps even a major role depending on the type of product or service. Technology (such as CRM systems) and people actually reinforce each other. It is the interaction that makes it powerful.

The sales process is the sum of customer experiences

The sales process is the sum of all kinds of customer experiences. Customer experience is gained everywhere. The sales process begins in the minds of potential customers, and especially with any preconceived expectations they may have. Everything, really everything, may or may not live up to these expectations. The user-friendliness of the online store. The online product information. The accuracy of the chat bot. The organization’s online accessibility. The friendliness of the phone representative. The seller’s advice. The way a product is packaged. How a repair is carried out. And so on. Every detail impacts the customer experience.

Changing customer expectations

Customer expectations change from time to time. The State of the Connected Customer report from Salesforce states that 58% of consumers and 77% of business customers believe that technological developments have influenced their expectations of interactions with businesses. They expect the sales process to be personal and easy. Not only do expectations change over the years, they can also vary day by day. Even how well someone slept the previous night can have an impact. And only a salesman can sense those nuances in person. No big data can compete with that.

Technology vs. human intuition

Some companies realize too little that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That technology and human effort should go hand in hand. A clear vision on CRM, supported by the entire organization and facilitated by smart systems — that is what ensures the right balance between human interaction and technology. Because: is it the engaging personality and a feeling of worthiness that closes the deal, or is it the data that results in customization? We will probably never know for sure; technology is taking on common sense and human intuition.