Customer Experience Featured Article

Robust CRM Allows Companies to Ride the Wave of Big Data, Mobile and Social Media

July 10, 2014

In the earliest days of customer relationship management, the goal of any worthwhile CRM solution was to collect data. It acted as an information repository on customers so sales personnel and contact center agents could find some background on the customer before interacting with that person. In the 1990s, when CRM first emerged, it was the “go-to” clearinghouse for data.

Fast-forward to today and we no longer lack data. Thanks to analytics, speech recognition, 100 percent call recording and screen capture—plus the Web, social media and mobile apps—we’re actually drowning in data, according to a recent article by Dom Nicastro on CMS Wire. Nicastro notes that we used to live in a world of data scarcity, but this is no longer the case. This has shifted the purpose of CRM, which now exists more to wrangle the data companies are collecting.

In fact, according to SugarCRM (News - Alert) co-founder and CTO Clint Oram, interviewed by CMS Wire, it’s actually “data overload," and the challenge becomes quickly make sense of that data and turn it into meaningful action.         

"Specifically, this is where a big part of our focus will be moving forward: turning big data into little data, taking trends across customer segments and applying those findings to a specific interaction with a customer — regardless of the communication channel," Oram said.

CRM is no longer just a simple sales tool. It needs to be a cross-departmental platform that aligns all employees across the organization behind the mission of attaining and retaining customers. How successful they will be at this endeavor depends on how well integrated the CRM is, if it’s used widely and properly across the organization, and what types of tools it provides to employees to use the data to the advantage of the customer.

“Since today’s customers have more choices in the market, the quality of the customer experience will quickly determine the winners and the losers,” said Oram.

Customers are more sophisticated today and make contact with companies armed with more information, so they can quickly tell whether they have a knowledgeable agent on the other end of the interaction or one who is trying to fumble his or her way to a right answer. These customers also expect a quick response, an immediate resolution, and a sense that the company finds their business valuable.

According to some, today’s combination of mobile, social customer service and “big data” is creating a kind of “perfect storm” on organizations. Whether a company rides that wave to success or is swamped by it largely depends on how well the company’s infrastructure allows employees to wield the data. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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