Self-service technologies, digital assistants or artificial intelligence – the technological advancements in customer relationship management are advancing inexorably. However, a prerequisite for being able to benefit from the new possibilities is a complete one Integration of the CRM solution into the ERP system. In this way, not only the customer data, but also the data on business partners and suppliers can be managed via a single platform – keyword xRM (extended relationship management).
Efficient processing of customer data
Customers are becoming more and more demanding. They know what is technically possible today and expect a seamless customer experience. In addition, they no longer choose a product based on price and quality alone. Especially their experience with a provider as well as the Reviews of other consumers play an increasingly important role. It is all the more important that companies collect information about their customers and process it accordingly. Often the customer data is entered into an ERP system with great effort or forwarded to production and logistics by e-mail. This not only costs time, but also increases the susceptibility to errors. In addition, this creates data silos that block the view of the most important thing: the customer.
360-degree view of customers, partners and suppliers
This can be remedied by fully, local or cloud-based integration of the CRM solution (Customer Relationship Management) into the provider’s ERP system as well as into other customer-relevant applications such as e-mail or shop systems. This not only gives marketing and sales, but also production and logistics as well as purchasing, controlling and project management a 360-degree view of the customer. Whether it is about communication, an individualized order or the current stock status: All data is always up to date and can be accessed from a single platform. No manual entry is required.
Another advantage of an integrated CRM solution: You can use it not only to record, manage and analyze relationships with customers, but also with business partners inside and outside the company – such as suppliers and investors. The future belongs to so-called xRM systems (extended relationship management), which integrate and optimize various business areas via the cloud. The prerequisite for this is that enough high-quality customer data and additional data sources are integrated into the platform. In addition, the customer service representatives must be able to use the new functions. An xRM solution should therefore be intuitive to use so that everyone can quickly find their way around without extensive training.
Customer data management: self service, social CRM and digital assistants
Other trends in customer relationship management are self-service technologies, social CRM and digital assistants. In this way, companies can offer their customers the opportunity to access their orders in real time and to use different channels. The automation of background processes is also becoming increasingly important. For example, the customer advisor can create personalized offers based on customer data stored in the xRM system, information from social networks and his or her experiences with the respective customer. Or important questions and answers about the respective product are automatically displayed during customer contact. This gives him valuable time that he can devote to the customer.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning relieve the employees
An end to the technological developments in the CRM environment is not in sight. Systems based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are playing an increasingly important role. This allows processes to be designed more efficiently and predictive analytics to be implemented. This means a significant relief for the employees.
The trend is above all for ML applications for data-driven recommendations, AI-supported forecasts and bots that pull information – for example on sales or customer satisfaction – from the mass of data. Digital voice assistants and chatbots for personalized customer contact are also getting better and better. Their use is no longer limited to simple questions and standardized answers to relieve the sales and service teams. Smart agents are increasingly developing into personal shopping assistants. Since younger customers in particular expect a completely digital shopping experience, it is advisable for companies to take advantage of the opportunities offered by these new technologies.
“Island solutions are no longer up to date”
“The subject of CRM is constantly evolving. In order to be able to use the new technologies, however, companies need a central platform to which all departments have access. This opens up new possibilities for analysis for companies. You gain a 360-degree view of your customers and can thus improve the customer experience. Isolated solutions and parallel data storage in ERP and CRM systems are no longer up to date. Companies should now create the conditions to benefit from integrated customer data management with the help of an xRM platform, ”explains Christian Zöhrlaut, Director Products Medium Segment at Sage.
legend is a provider of IT systems that ensure more transparency as well as more flexible and efficient processes in the areas of accounting, corporate and personnel management in small and medium-sized companies. Millions of customers worldwide trust Sage and its partners when it comes to optimal solutions from the cloud and the necessary support. (sg)
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