CRM’s (Customer Relationship Management) priority in the general public’s eyes have rapidly increased over these past few years, hitting its acceleration peak amidst the pandemic. Since then, CRM systems have been making vast strides to meet up with demand, which they have very well done– exceedingly well in fact.
With impressive statistics like these, how could you not feel compelled to check it out?
- 91% of companies (>10 employees) use a CRM.
- CRM software can improve sales by 29%
- 92% of companies have attributed CRM systems to being crucial to achieving goals and targets
Despite the well-deserved come up, the CRM space has no signs of stopping, instead they are doing the opposite– rapidly adapting, ready to tackle anything relating to a company’s interactions with their customer base. Here are the latest top trends we will be seeing more of in the CRM space for 2022, and how these new strides in technology are impacting customer relationships for the better.
1. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Surge
The implementation of AI has arguably been the most visible mega-trend in CRM quite a while, and not without good reason— AI has abilities that encompass all areas of CRM, from marketing, to sales, to customer support and services- essentially with a large dataset and appropriate machine learning algorithms, the sky’s the limit! It’s no wonder AI CRM has been estimated to deliver an extra $1.1 trillion in revenue by the end of 2021!
Though surprisingly, AI has had the biggest impact on marketing, since the AI can easily forecast the likelihood of a customer buying a specific product, generating a constant stream of leads that have a relatively high success rate compared to their slower human counterparts. In fact, AI-driven marketing efforts have proven to be extremely effective at targeting the right demographic and increasing customer retention.
A notable player in the CRM space that extensively utilizes AI is the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which has been the breeding ground for countless AI innovations such as Einstein, Interaction Studio Templates and Datorama Connectors!
With 80% of marketers saying that real time engagement of customers has been the biggest hurdle to overcome, adding AI integrations into your content is a great choice, as it can create relevant content through AI based on past data. It plays well at delivering personalized customer experiences while cutting down the manual workload needed overall. Even being able to develop an insightful analytics dashboard packed with AI-driven insights.
According to the Marketing Intelligence Report, it is stated that the top 3 improvements marketers are looking to make next year are:
- Optimization of Market Spend
- Gain More Insight into Customer Engagement Methods
- Development of a Strategic View of the Overall Market
With AI being able to meet those needs with relative ease and minimal long-term spend, all signs say that the AI boom is not stopping soon. AI is expected to be an excellent assistant to pre-existing robust CRM systems, providing insightful reports and predictive forecasts with a high degree of accuracy.
2. More Service Channel Access Methods
Customer loyalty and service has long been coined as the holy grail of the CRM industry. Not only improving sales success, having an effective service CRM that is accessible anytime leads to a sustainable growth for the company by increasing customer retention as well as satisfaction.
Demands for this area of CRM systems have recently become a hot topic, hitting its peak during the pandemic. With COVID-19 blending the worlds of home and work together, agents across the globe have been seeking out a way to monitor and respond to service cases whenever, wherever, all the while not sacrificing the insights, they are used to seeing on their work device.
Agents are on the lookout for automatic case routing, service process automation, macro automation and everything else that provides a comprehensive UI for them to efficiently aid customers in their plights. In particular, the Service Console has seen to be the most impactful for agents, as they can use it to juggle multiple cases at the same time through multiple service channels.
Besides this, as customers are increasingly interacting with services and products through mobile applications, embeddable customer support are starting to pick up traction.
Namely, Snap-ins from Salesforce’s Service Cloud, which are embeddable customer support, perfect for any situation:
- Cases (case management)
- Live Agent (text chat)
- SOS (live two-way video chat)
Taking it a step further, you can start up a Community Cloud for customers to enjoy a fuss-free experience to finding answers on a phone!
3. Storing your CRM on the cloud
Cloud adoption has been the biggest trend in the last decade, with over 61% of businesses fully migrating their workload to cloud-based services even back in 2020. The statistics soar even more as it is estimated that 87% of users are using a cloud-based CRM, a significant acceleration compared to 62% back in 2018.
But what exactly is Cloud and why has it been so effective in its rapid adoption?
Cloud computing is the delivery of databases and networking over the internet, creating instant availability wherever you are, so long as you have access to the internet. The most compelling reason to switch to cloud is its capability to provide instant visibility to real-time insights along with centralizing customer information.
For CRM systems, the cloud even serves as an automation tool, reducing the time sales agents spend on administration and other menial tasks. The cloud also allows for team managers to have a real-time view into the team’s activities, enabling them to make more informed decisions and forecasts on sales. This is especially apparent during 2020 to 2021 when virtual became the new normal, many businesses relied on their cloud-based CRMs to stay connected and link up with their team, regardless of their location.
Another factor cloud-based CRMs excel at is customizability. Being a software-as-a-service (SaaS), it easily scales to accommodate every business size, big or small! Hence, it is a worthy investment, lowering business costs while accelerating productivity within your sales team.
4. More self-service integrations
Sometimes, well, almost always, we want answers fast! We see Self-Service Integrations & Portals on the rise as the demand for support increases while customer attention spans slowly diminish over time.
Self-service integrations are a win-win for both customers and companies. We see this best reflected as 65% of customers use self-service channels for simple issues they have encountered. This deflects many easily solved cases from directly going to call centers, directly reducing the cost of providing support in general.
However, self-service portals are not standalone! In fact, the best service often comes from a company with customer self-services that are well-connected to CRM. While self-services are an easy and accessible way to look for solutions, customers may need more extensive help.
In those situations, a well-connected customer support experience is key. Well-connected self-service integrations allow phone support agents to easily gain a complete view of their data, assess what the customer has tried based on the data and pick up where they left off. This creates a seamless experience for customers without the hassle of constantly repeating information.
Through connecting self-service portals with CRM, companies have seen customer satisfaction do an upturn time and time again. The best way to connect your customer service portals, self-service or not, to your pre-existing CRM is by making use of omnichannel capabilities!
(Feeling overwhelmed? Do not fret as we will address omni-channel next!)
When we combine ease of use with the low maintenance costs, it is no wonder why self-service integration has seen the burst in popularity that it has.
5. Connecting all your channels up with omnichannel routing
Mainly in the customer service space of CRM, omnichannel is a relatively new player in the scene, with the term only popping up with respect to CRM back in late 2020. But do not let that mislead you, omnichannel capabilities have long been practiced although the term ‘omnichannel’ itself has only been popularized recently.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel preserves context across all customer support channels which enables businesses to provide seamless customer service experiences across multiple channels by connecting them within their pre-existing CRM. Essentially, it allows customer service representatives to get a full comprehensive view of a customer’s interactions, thus providing insight that allows them to better answer and resolve issues effectively in a more efficient way!
In fact, recent statistics reveal 73% of customers state that “connected processes are integral to win business”, omnichannel CRM integrations have to be a good investment. The benefits include:
- Obtaining greater customer insights
- Gaining a better grasp of your unique selling points
- Distinguishing your business from competitors
- Reduced workload and stress for customer service representatives
- Improving customer satisfaction and retention
With omnichannel capabilities, businesses can effectively define their unique customer journey conveniently all in one place, without the fright of data loss! Having communication channels synchronized seems to not be a fad at all, as it is most definitely here to stay.
All and all, we are seeing a big emphasis on seamless customer experiences and using technology to reduce the workload and guesswork for business’ employees. With 86% of customers stating that the customer experience is just as important as the product and service itself, CRM users prioritizing ease of use & customer experience above anything else is definitely the right direction to head down.
Through this list, you may have noticed that the trends themselves seem to seamlessly fit together into a perfect package! CRM in general has never been a preset, all-encompassing of space. Instead, CRM systems are highly customized to fit the business it is aiding.
Discover how to build your perfect CRM system that can help you create seamless experiences for everyone – yourself, your employees, and your customers.