6 Key Takeaways from CRM Evolution Conference [With Infographic]
Staying ahead of the game in today’s rapidly changing business world is not easy. In order to accomplish the task, companies have to always keep up with what’s relevant and effective. Taking part in various conferences and meetups is among the best ways to learn the latest trends in desired areas, as well as share and discover new ideas.
CRM Evolution is a 3-day conference that brings together the leading sales, marketing and customer service solution providers and professionals to discuss various working strategies and innovations in the field of customer engagement. The different sessions of the conference cover all major issues in customer relationship management, helping organizations to adjust their game plans by the needs and desires of their clients.
In this article we have decided to highlight 6 key takeaways from the most recent CRM Evolution conference that was held in August 2015. So here are some best thoughts and expert recommendations, you should definitely consider.
1. Understanding the difference between Customer Engagement, Customer Experience and Customer Relationship Management
It may seem pretty basic, but in reality, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to distinguishing the three terms in question. To make it a bit clearer for everybody, the conference chair Paul Greenberg offered his interpretation of the concepts.
Customer engagement is the ongoing bidirectional interaction between the company and its customers, during which the company composes a certain optimal basket of goods and presents it to the customers, who, in turn, have the ability to pick from it the parts they want.
Customer experience, while often used interchangeably with customer engagement, is a totally different thing. It can be described as a perception or a feeling a customer has about a company based on their interactions over time. Simply put, it’s how satisfied or dissatisfied the customer is with the services, the company provides.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tool that sustains sales, marketing and customer service activities. While, Paul Greenberg provides his ideal definition of CRM, as well, which states that CRM is is a business strategy, supported by technology and designed to improve human interaction in a business environment, he also says that in practice things are entirely different. In his opinion, CRM has been reduced to just technology, designed to capture and interpret customer data, as well as automate various business processes and workflows.
2. Establishing consistency of the customer experience
Data silo is one of the biggest issues most companies face. It results in decreased data quality and an inability to create a single view of customer information. This, in turn, leads to poor customer service.
One of the solutions to data silo lies in system integration. It is highly recommended to connect sales, marketing and customer service for a more consistent customer experience.
3. Taking steps to earn customer loyalty
It is a well-known fact by now that an enduring, deep-rooted client-company connection is one of the keys to long-term profitability and general success of the organization. The question is, what strategies of achieving customer loyalty are currently valid.
According to Notes Ovum Principal Analyst Keith Dawson, nowadays, reliability can be accomplished by building smart connections through various service channels, based on relevant metrics and KPIs, and, thus, making it easy for customers to do business with the company.
4. Leveraging IoT data into CRM operations
IoT is one of the hottest trends in the world of technology today. In the realm of customer relationship management, it holds great promises for revealing valuable insights that will help to establish a highly personalized customer experiences, based on the new level of understanding and predicting their behavior and needs. Even though, there are still no unified standards about devices, privacy and security for the Internet of Things industry and it’s mainstream implementation is not something that is going to happen very soon, using IoT data available even today and working on developing this area will give brands the ability to deliver more rewarding customer engagements.
5. Choosing the proper CRM solution
Bob Stutz, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has highlighted the importance of selecting a suitable CRM platform. Even though companies invest considerable amounts of money into customer relationship management system implementation, many of them end up with a solution that doesn’t align with their business processes and fundamentally fails to perform as expected.
Bob Stutz offers three steps to help choose the proper CRM solution:
- Identifying the major channels the company is planning to engage on;
- Determining the primary short- and long-term goals;
- Outlining the associated business processes to get an understanding of what is required from a technology to achieve the maximal return on investment.
6. Investing in the right people
While a lot was said about the technology in customer management, the experts also emphasized the importance of investing in the right people and creating the team of rock star customer care agents.
Eric McKirdy shared a few tips on the topic. His suggestions include:
- Coming up with a creative position name, that would reflect the true purpose of the job and motivate the employees, like a “happiness engineer” or a “customer champion”.
- Dividing the job candidates into those, who have written a few words about why they like your brand and want to represent it, and those who have not taken the time to do so. The latter should be discarded.
- Interviewing candidates in the same channel that they will interact with your customers.
- Asking a random question during the interview to see how well and quickly candidates will handle it.
As a bonus, we have created an infographic, highlighting some of the brightest remarks and observations from CRM experts. Enjoy!