Top 2018 CRM Trends For Businesses

Research studies posit that acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times more costly than nurturing existing relationships with customers. Consequently, 2018 CRM trends show that businesses are keen on improving their long-standing relationships with their long-term customers. In the past, customer relationship management (CRM) efforts were deemed to be inefficient because of their failure to translate into revenue. However, continuous innovation in the business component has seen businesses reevaluate their position on customer relationship management or otherwise, risk customer needs outpacing service delivery efforts.

In spite of the metamorphosing CRM strategies, the prevalent theme going forward is that customer expectations are dynamic. Also, companies need to adapt to the changing customer needs and expectations. Traditionally, CRM was divided into three domains including sales, marketing, and service. In recent times, however, customers’ priorities seemed to have shifted, and the focus is now not on the titles. Customers place more emphasis on the efficiency with which businesses deliver their services. To attain successful CRM efforts, businesses will have to adapt to customer behavior and incorporate better automation, integration, and intelligence.

Social CRM

Social media marketing has become a powerful tool for marketing and companies are now aware of its potential to revolutionize marketing efforts. Social CRM has been found to improve retention of customers by 26%. Numerous customers now spend a considerable amount of time on networking sites and in the process, influence different brands and develop perceptions about products or services. In the process, businesses get instant feedback from social media and brands can engage with their customers directly.

The Future of Big Data

Big data is the next frontier in customer service. In fact, a typical fortune 1000 company stands to gain $65 million extra net income with a 10% increase in data accessibility efforts. One of the common CRM trends lies in continuously seeking to understand customers through data. Using data, companies can target specific customers and maintain relationships that have the potential to rake in significant business. Companies thus aim to collect vast amounts of data pertaining to their different customers to aid in decision making.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Marketing

AI is expected to give profitability of different firms a boost by 38%. With the vast amounts of data collected, marketers and managers will be required to use data to discover new insights into customer behavior. Managers will in some cases be stifled by the voluminous CRM data generated and end up making the wrong decisions. Artificial intelligence (AI) bots will thus play critical roles in understanding the copious data collected from customers. The development of new predictive algorithms is essential in decision making. AI technologies have different important capabilities such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and big data analysis. With AI tools, it will be possible to recommend specific products for specific customers using the buying habits of customers, demographic data, as well as market trends. Therefore, AI bots are handy 2018 CRM trends.

Employees will be Versatile

Organizations will continue to seek versatile employees who can perform diverse roles. Customer management is cutting across the perceived marketing, sales, and service barriers. Agents in organizations will have to perform tasks beyond their common field of expertise. For example, sales agents have to adopt platforms such as social media to respond to customer inquiries. Customers are now on multiple communication platforms, and it is crucial that employees learn how to keep up with the times.

Cloud-based Solutions

Cloud computing is a rapidly growing field. Incorporation of cloud computing in customer relationship management has revolutionized customer service delivery. For example, cloud-based technology is now an effective way to gather customer data implying that storage of information will improve. Customer data can be analyzed to provide leads for future sales. Cloud storage will also enhance easy retrieval of information.

Contextual Advertising

One of the prominent CRM trends that companies will find beneficial in 2018 is contextual targeting. Other methods of advertising such as behavioral targeting are 1.94 times more expensive than contextual advertising. With the advent of new technology, customers have become savvy, and are thus able to filter the marketing messages on their devices. Consequently, numerous customers continue to have the ability to block irking advertisements. To adapt to this trend, it is vital for organizations to endear their brands to customers, gain their trust, and maintain the momentum needed to maintain customers.

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Emerging technologies seek to develop accurate systems to target customers and gain the attention of different micro-segments of customers. Essentially, technology should target the right customer, deliver the most suitable message, and get the customer at the right time. With contextual advertising, individual customers will only receive messages of utmost relevance.

Virtual Assistants

In 2018, conversational voice interfaces will be essential tools for everyday interactions. Further, companies seek to advance and incorporate voice-based CRM initiatives in data entry, retrieval, email interaction, and scheduling. Natural language understanding (NLU) and voice recognition technologies will continuously improve, and thus handle complex interactions and answer questions via conversational voice interfaces. Also, companies have to consider investing in advanced chat-bots as well automated support desks. Chat-bots can utilize artificial intelligence and understand conversation patterns as well as queries from different customers. Advanced algorithms will also be incorporated to enhance customer interactions online.

Mobile CRM

With the increasing mobility of sales agents and the consistent presence of customers on online platforms, it is essential that sales agents continue with their CRM efforts even when they are away from their desks. Therefore, businesses will inculcate mechanisms which allow their agents to take their CRM systems everywhere they go. In this case, businesses will incorporate apps that their agents can use to communicate with clients. Research shows that 65% of sales agents utilizing mobile CRM tend to hit their targets when compared to 22% who use traditional CRM.

Advanced Data Protection

As online technologies advance, data security might be compromised by advancing cybersecurity threats. Security applications will need to include artificial intelligence applications. Adding security measures that possess some form of intelligence can prevent data breaches, hacks, and also provide important notifications. Hackers on online platforms have become highly innovative and it is crucial that information technology systems stay secure to protect the existing data.

Improvement in Automated Workflows

CRM solutions tend to place emphasis on customer needs. Among the 2018 CRM trends, there will be a focus to streamline business processes and employee workflows. Efficient workflow and business processes can enhance customer service delivery. With the incorporation of AI, it is expected that the technology will learn how employees interact with CRM tools, and subsequently give insightful suggestions on improvements that can be made to increase business efficiency. With the improvement in workflow processes, it is possible for employees to save time and find time to build customer relationships.

CRM trends in 2018 thus rely on developments in technology and use of the internet. Businesses have to adapt to the times to stay competitive.

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