Two CRM Trends to Watch

Several trends are emerging in the CRM world that are worth considering, especially if you have in house customer service and/or a mobile sales force.

Social CRM for Customer Service
During the next two years, 30 percent of leading companies will extend the goals of their online community activities to the design of enhanced service processes, such as social CRM. Social CRM for customer service has the potential to bring new and dynamic methods for improving customer service, and in doing so is creating opportunities for new and existing providers in the customer service and contact center infrastructure markets.

Social CRM for customer service has only recently entered into the realm of contact center infrastructure and customer service software components, where it has been met with significant hype despite a limited number of field deployments. There is strong corporate awareness, including at corporate executive levels, of social networks and their potential impact on corporate brand management and customer service perception. As awareness and use of social networks increases, customer service executives and planners are feeling increasing pressure from corporate executives to articulate a strategy for how this new communication channel will be harnessed so that they don’t get left behind.

Most deployments of social CRM are taking place in corporate marketing departments as an exercise in brand management, such as maintaining a presence on Facebook or Twitter. However, savvy customers are learning that the employees that manage interactions across these channels can also provide customer service functions — sometimes with much-faster responsiveness than that provided over formal contact center channels. As customer awareness and use of social CRM for marketing as a back door to customer service increases, it will rapidly progress from an exception-handling situation to a process that needs to be standardized to scale to broader use.

In 2010, only 5 percent of organizations took advantage of social/collaborative customer action to improve service processes; however, customer demand and heightened business awareness is making this a top issue among customer service managers. At current trajectories, within five years the community peer-to-peer support projects will supplement or replace Tier 1 contact center support in more than 40 percent of top 1,000 companies with a contact center.

Tablet PC’s Offer New Option to Mobile CRM
Taking your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system on the road is not a new concept. Laptop computers and smart phones have mobilized sales forces for years. However, the new trend in Tablet PC’s, as emphasized by the recent release of the Verizon iPad and Motorola XOOM, takes mobility to a new level.

Because the Tablets have larger screens (9.7 inch on the iPad and 10.1 inch on the Xoom) they are more easily seen than a Smart Phone. Because they aren’t as bulky as a laptop or netbook, they are easier to handle. These two factors make the tablet an easier to use, and powerful marketing and sales tool for product demonstrations.

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