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For too long, businesses have viewed CRM platforms as simply a functional repository for customer data. However, in the digital world we now live in, CRM offers so much more, especially for businesses that operate in the service economy where continuous customer engagement is so critical to delivering on revenue goals.
Now, CRM platforms allow you to define how different employee roles interact with the system more effectively, which in turn leads to smarter working environments. They especially transform the way a company’s employees engage with their customer base when powered by one of the most important technological advances of recent years – artificial intelligence (AI).
A recent survey conducted by CITE Research showed that 75% of people are comfortable using chatbots and think they improve the online customer experience. This doesn’t stop at text-based bots, however – the potential for combining voice technology and CRM systems is vast, with the likes of Siri and Alexa already household names. As this technology continues to grow in stature, more and more devices will become data points feeding AI, which has a huge impact on the customer’s experience and the foundation upon which CRM is based.
It’s therefore unsurprising that consumer-facing businesses have started introducing AI into their customer service offerings. For example, RBS’s chatbot ‘Luvo’ and Bank of America’s Erica both solve basic customer issues, which in turn increases productivity by automating workflows. However, for your business to take advantage of AI and unlock its true potential, a flexible CRM system which offers a 360-degree view of the customer is key.
AI, machine learning and predictive technologies all rely on the quality of the data sets with which they are working. After all, the whole purpose of this technology is to boost efficiency and cut down on manual processes by studying patterns of behaviour from data and constructing algorithms that can evolve, learn and make predictions.
As the technology becomes increasingly ‘smart’, thanks to the quality of data available, the investment and resource needed to program machines will reduce. At the heart of this should be your CRM platform, driving insight and valuable learnings from rich, robust customer data.
As CRM systems become increasingly sophisticated, you will soon begin reaping the benefits of the sheer amount of data they can process, as well as the speed with which they can leverage meaningful insight from machine learning algorithms. CRM will ensure every user within your business has a better picture of every customer, as well as anticipating and predicting customer needs more effectively.
This isn’t just taken from traditional databases, however. CRM can solicit value from the most unstructured of data sets. Everything from social media posts and emails to call center recordings can now be leveraged and combined with transactional data to deliver deeper insights on customer preferences, which in turn has the potential to deepen the customer relationship. The ability to integrate social data is particularly beneficial, helping your organization to engage with, and learn from, customers at a more holistic level.
At SugarCRM, this is already becoming a reality. Last year SugarCRM launched Hint that helps marketing & sales gather a wealth of relationship intelligence about businesses and individuals from just a name and email address. The system eliminates the need for manual research and data entry, instead gathering customer intelligence from a broad range of data sources. This allows users to quickly and efficiently learn more about their prospects to establish productive relationships.
So, if you’re looking to improve customer engagement and drive relationships that truly make a difference, finding the right CRM system to drive value from AI is key. It will revolutionize the way you interact with customers, offering insight that would have taken hours if conducting the research manually. The time saved through workflow automation and the additional insight into customers gained will inevitably increase business productivity, showcasing the true value of getting the most out of your technology platforms.
This article originally appeared on SugarCRM's Blog.