May 22nd, 2014 by Maria Minsker

Despite several discussions surrounding the “massive digital chasm” and the “nexus of forces” that’s creating it, analysts at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit in Orlando this week were actually largely optimistic about the future of CRM. Though disruptive technologies have raised consumers’ expectations and changed the way they interact with brands, analysts agreed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel–you just have to hop across that big chasm first! Here are 10 tips for taking the leap, courtesy of Gartner’s analysts.

1. “Consumers want concierged experiences. If your company can’t give them the kind of experience that they can get on Pinterest or elsewhere for free, then they won’t pay for your service, and they’ll get it elsewhere.”

-Michael Maoz, analyst

2. “Enterprises will have to automate some interactions, but they’ll never be able to automate entire relationships, and they shouldn’t try to.”

- Hung LeHong, analyst

3. “Keeping the culture consistent throughout the organization and extending that consistency to customer-facing channels such as social could make the difference between being the Kodak or the Apple.

- Gene Alvarez, analyst and conference chair

4. “Organizations need to stop looking at social as a standalone element, and work to embed it within the organization’s structure.”

- Jenny Sussin, analyst

5. [On loyalty programs] ”The way it’s set up now, consumers have to fly a certain number of miles to get rewards points from an airline. But why shouldn’t an airline give a customer a couple of points just for checking fare rates on their Web site? That’ll be the future.”

-Hung LeHong, analyst

6. “Not every [Twitter] mention is a customer service issue, and not every customer service issue is a solvable issue. It’s important to create rules to determine what is a customer service issue and mark those posts.”

- Jenny Sussin, analyst

7. “As I customer, I want to see what I bought and am now considering, the channels I used last time, my satisfaction score, the facts I should know about the business, the possible connections with others like me, sites that can help me, internal products that I am waiting for, services that I have hoped for, and stuff that I need but don’t know that I need.

- Michael Maoz, analyst

8. “Privacy can be bought, trust must be earned, and security will be expected at all times.”

- Hung LeHong, analyst

9. “Though [implementing a customer-driven culture] is hard work, it’s not particularly complex, and once the cultural shifts are implemented, they are self-sustaining. Ultimately, they’re inevitable, because customers’ expectations are changing,”

- Leigh McMullen, analyst

10. [On social media engagement tools and technologies] “Every vendor is going to tell you they can do this, and that’s not necessarily false, but it’s not entirely true either. That’s why companies have know exactly what they need before they commit to a technology.”

- Jenny Sussin

The trend towards CRM is in full swing and shows no real signs of stopping. As businesses become more educated about the benefits of CRM, the more likely they are to do their research, and invest in this type of software. The need for CRM increases due to heightened competition in the marketplace. As Leigh McMullen suggested in #9, that it is hard to transition to a more customer-centric culture, but it is necessary if a business wants to succeed into the future. I also believe in the importance of integration between sales and marketing. In order to provide a consistent customer experience, it is necessary to promote the conversation between the two. One does not exist without the other, and siloing the two departments only breeds unnecessary competition and inconsistencies across the organization resulting is lost revenues. I really enjoyed the constant mention of culture in these tips. It really reinforces how important this is becoming in todays’s business environment.

Comment by Alessandra — May 22, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

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