No matter how much blood and sweat is dedicated to creating a seamless customer experience, breakthrough success is only achieved if and when the business keeps a close tab on their customers, tracking their interests, and predicting their next move. And that’s because the latest tech and devices are integral to the daily lives of today’s customers, who are internet-savvy, impatient, and very busy. If you don’t work hard to keep up with their evolving preferences, you are losing out on various opportunities, as well as brand loyalty. Tune out the voice of your consumers and you might as well hand their patronage over to your more tech-savvy competitors.
Omnichannel customer relationship management (CRM) is at the very core of your efforts to enable new brand strategies, integrate the latest technologies, and keep up with new customer experience trends. Here, we delve into the finer details of this important tool with Sachin Karweer, Business Head – HGS-Interactive.
Q: What is omnichannel CRM?
Sachin: Simply put, omnichannel CRM is a business process that supports the key activities of targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding, and collaborating with your customers. Consider it the foundation, of your brand’s customer experience strategy. And that’s not all it does. Omnichannel CRM also enables new brand strategies, integrates the latest technologies, and is constantly rejuvenated by new trends.
As one indication of the state of today’s customer expectations, according to recent Forrester research, 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing that a company can do to provide them with good service. And the key to providing service on the customer’s schedule is a suite of omni-channel solutions that cater to preference, convenience, and reduced effort—all to build essential loyalty and retention. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, by 2020 the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for near perfect execution.
Q: How is CRM changing and boosted by omnichannel?
Sachin: CRM has come a long way from its origins as a back-office tool managing contacts and customers. Today’s CRM can cross channels to connect with artificial intelligence (AI) and services like chat bots to serve as the backbone for conversational interfaces.
In the near future, CRM systems will start adjusting workflows automatically for added efficiency. CRM systems, along with the help of AI, will configure systems to reduce manual work, create automatic actions, or reconfigure the interface to better suit a given user’s patterns of usage.
Q: Are there benefits of a single service provider?
Sachin: The ideal scenario for omnichannel CRM is one platform and one service provider, as today’s customers look for a seamless and consistent experience across the growing number of channels that they use to interact with brands.
The most common channels used today are calls, emails, and social. But preconceived notions on budget constraints by marketers tend to lead businesses to go to multiple agencies for these services. These agencies do the best they can within their limited budgets, but it is the brand that ultimately suffers as they are unable to enjoy the benefits of a unified view of analytical data. As a result, the brand cannot track, study, and analyze the entire customer journey on all three unified channels, as customers bounce from one platform to another before landing, buying, and exiting.This means the brand does not enjoy an eagle-eyed view to track, study, and analyze the entire customer journey on different platforms the customer may have touched while landing, buying, and exiting.
A unified customer relationship management capability overcomes this, allowing for immense benefits and raw data that is critical to brand marketers and the brand. It is omnichannel CRM that effectively unifies all these platforms, bringing the most relevant communication channels together in one interface, streamlining the company’s interaction with the customer. Take the case of one of our clients, a top three broadcasting network in our region . Our omnichannel service provides opportunities for its audience to connect across multiple channels. These channels are handled by trained and efficient community managers who are adept at handling a wide range of queries and communication that ultimately deliver the client’s audience with a unified customer experience. With our service, we receive valuable inputs from our client’s customers and associates for their content, scheduling, distribution, and other aspects of their business. This is apart from the more than a million interactions we handled in the first year of our association with this client. In this way, we support this client from multiple perspectives. With omnichannel CRM support, we build capabilities to both improve operations and generate revenue.
Ultimately, today’s CRM is a critical component of serving our customers, who live many lives simultaneously – social, professional, personal, and individual. To enable a superior customer experience, businesses have to focus on the different ecosystems in which customers live.