“We’ve spent the last 30 years focusing on the T in IT, and we’ll spend the next 30 years focusing on the I.” –Peter Drucker
Effectively managing customer information is what CRM solutions are all about. When it comes down to it, i’ve been using CRMs consistently since 2008: both as a power-user of “Proprietary” (ie: custom built) type of CRMs and as “Connaisseur” of industry standard CRMs out there leading the market. Both approaches present pros & cons. But this isn’t the aim of this post today.
CRM is somewhat a steady and ongoing topic that is key for business: this is not news. If CRM is at the “heart” of a Customer Centric type of Business Strategy & Operation: Then, an ecosystem of 3rd party Apps gravitating around and/or on top of CRMs completes the full “body & soul” of the so called 360º Vision that Businesses need to have of their current and futur Prospects & Clients. This is the aim of this post: how can Enterprises leverage both CRM and relevant Add-On Apps to deliver outstanding Customer Experiences via a Holistic View on their business?
A look at CRM Add-Ons examples: Additional Layers Completing the 360º View
A CRM manages Customer Data. In a simple way, it allows companies to answer to the following type of questions: Who is this person/prospect/client? Where in the business process (ie: sales cycle) is this potential client in? What “history” do my business and this potential client have? Let’s take a step further upstream. Needless to detail how easy it has become to end-users to contact, communicate and engage with their favorite brands, service providers, and companies in general. Social Media, Automatic/Live/or-Community Chat, Email, FAQs, Mobile Apps, myriads of front-end touch points are available today. Yet, the most important channel allowing companies to interact with prospects/clients: The Telephone. And my personal favorite: The Video/Screen-Sharing Channel.
If it has become easy for end-customers, it has nonetheless become extremely complex for companies (yet siloed) to manage this channel proliferation, combine it with CRM data and make the right decision (ie: in real time) to “cocoon” clients and enhance business development. This is where integrating additional layers in the CRM environment will foster companies to deliver greater customer experiences while benefiting from a 360º View of the business.
In the above example:
CIM: Customer Interaction Management
- Social Media Listening & Engament.
- Automatic/Virtual, Live & Community Chats.
- Knowledge Bases feeding Static or Dynamic FAQs & Emails.
CTI: Computer Telephony Integration
- Telco Connectivity Under The Hood (PSTN, VoIP, SMS), IVR, ACD, (i)PBX.
- WebRTC, Rich Video Capabilities via software layers encapsulated in Browser Plugins or Extensions.
Other Apps, ie: User Behavior Analysis & Targeting on Websites (eCommerce, eService)
- Allowing, for instance, to understand which journeys, pages, products or services are worth focusing on.
CRM Examples viewed today: The 360º Customer Vision Powered by Salesforce & Microsoft
In both cases: a Unified “Playground” where both Customer Interactions & Data coexist for the benefit of the CRM user.
One vs. The Other? Although not the aim of this post, a quick research (today) of public prices online (CRM only) shows the following.
Would you be interested in a full comparison of both products? Please let me know and i will make it happen.
App Market Place: The Holly Grail Strategy for CRM players to complement their offering.
This is final piece of the puzzle. A new market avenue, an interesting opportunity for the Developper Eco-System, from established Integrators, to SMBs & StartUps. Are we yet to discover its full potential? Could we expect somewhat equivalent trends to market-places in the B2C arena such as the Apple & Google Play Store? I certainly hope so, and I am excited to see opportunities flourish as there is increasingly more place for it in: Video, Augmented Reality, Biometrics Recognition, Descriptive & Predictive Analytics, Data Visualisation… to adresse day to day business challenges. Companies like Salesforce & Microsoft Dynamics CRM App Market Places are AppExchange & CRM App Store.
In A Nutshell
If companies have been focusing on the “Technology” and then, on the “Information” sides of the words “IT”, they now need to focus on the Experience side of things. We are looking for great Experiences at “all levels” and in which ever “side” we’ll find ourselves in: whether we happen to be prospects, clients or that audience’s service providers. No longer is it about CRM. Combining CRM with relevant type of Apps such as CTIs & CIMs does generate and make possible the 360º Vision that Businesses need to have. The global combination brings us to DRM concept: Digital Relationship Management between Prospects, Clients, Fans, Companies and IoTs.