Having a quality product or service isn’t good enough anymore if you want to remain profitable for the long-term. You need to keep your current customers engaged as you attract new customers and deepen your relationship with casual buyers. This is why customer relationship management or CRM tools are essential, and you need to keep up with changes in this area if you want to keep up with the competition. Here are the latest CRM tech trends to watch out for.

Customers Value the Experience

Surveys show that more than 80% of customers value the customer experience as much as the product or service. Nearly three-quarters of customers say that an exceptional experience raises their expectations everywhere else. Two-thirds of those surveyed also said they will pay more for a top-notch experience. On the flip side, many will drop a brand if they have a negative experience, and a percentage of those will complain to others.

What that means is that you’ll improve customer loyalty when your customer service is better than your rivals. It also shows that customers are ready to pay a premium for it.

You can’t afford to alienate regular customers either. It has been estimated that it costs 5 times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one. For many companies, the best first step to better customer relationship management is getting or upgrading their customer relationship management system.

Companies Increasingly Choose Tools Based on How It Improves Their Business Operations

Around 20% of companies invest in a new CRM solution because their data is currently siloed or warehoused in many different systems. This forces employees to bounce between different databases to find information, or worse, working without that information at all.

However, many firms with a CRM solution will change providers because the current one isn’t good enough. Nearly a quarter of CRM customers buy it because the current CRM tool lacks features that make things better. Half as many change CRM tools because the current one is hard to use. Out of those, roughly 10% of CRM customers specifically cited the fact that the current customer relationship management system didn’t integrate well with other software.

This tends to lead people to the CRM industry leaders because all of the major, related software applications – from email marketing to help desk ticket systems to financial software – are designed to be a seamless fit with most of them. Two of these leaders are Zoho and Salesforce, which have become synonymous with CRM over the years.

While both options have similarities, it would pay to look in detail into each of them as they cater to slightly different groups. If you’re still hesitating about Zoho vs Salesforce for your CRM, check out this piece by PieSync. You’ll get a list of integrations available both right out of the box and with higher tiers. They also rate both options based on factors like pricing, scalability, and ease of use, among other things.

CRM Is Expanding Its Reach

Retail and e-commerce companies have had CRM for some time, and it has remained kind of a well-kept secret. But CRM is increasingly becoming popular and is spanning lots of different industries now.

The leading industries investing in CRM now are far more diverse. For example, service providers like hair salons, landscaping companies, and others account for a third of new CRM buyers. IT and manufacturing both account for an eighth of new CRM customers. Behind them are finance companies from mortgage lenders to financial advisors who want to improve their customer relationships. Educational institutions from schools to tutoring services account for about 5% of the market. Altogether, CRM usage is increasing by 13% per year, which shows great promise for the future.

AI Is Merging with CRM

Data-driven decision-making has always been part of marketing. Big Data is the massive amount of information collecting on customer purchasing patterns, website usage, and personal information.

CRM systems collect much or all of this in one place. But merely being able to stock information is not something you need a CRM for. The goal is to be able to actually use it. This is where AI-powered analytics come in.

AI can be used to pull from this data and deliver personalized experiences. This may involve showing someone the most relevant ads when they visit your website to provide predictive product recommendations when they talk to a marketing chatbot.

The growing intelligence behind CRM systems will allow for more consolidation of data from various touchpoints. This supports the omni-channel customer experience.

Customer relationship management systems are a large and fast-growing share of the software market. Given its importance to the success of your business, you must choose the right CRM solution if you want to succeed.

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