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Trends and Digitization in CRM 2017: The Gap between Vision and Reality

Trends and Digitization in CRM 2017: The Gap between Vision and Reality

In many companies, the Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is the central hub for customer communication. That is one reason to make this system more virtual and more efficient with the help of digitization. But has that yet become a reality in companies? The study “Trends & Digitization in CRM 2017” investigated this – with astounding results.

A total of 316 decision-makers from numerous industries in marketing, CRM, sales and communication as well as social media and online took part in we.CONNECT Global Leader GmbH’s online survey at the beginning of 2017. They work in corporate groups, medium-sized companies, at “hidden champions” or in public administration.

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service has currently established no foothold among 79 percent of the people surveyed, while twelve percent plan to use AI and only nine percent already use it in marketing or CRM systems. The result is hardly remarkable if you look at how many companies actually focus on CRM: Not even half (44 percent) of the companies rate this focus as ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’. More than half answered the question with ‘to some extent’ (43 percent), ‘low’ (8 percent) or ‘very low’ (5 percent). Consequently, the people surveyed rate the coordination or harmonization in their company between CRM, IT and corporate strategy as only moderately important.

The top trend: Customer analysis and segmentation

Three areas received by far the most answers when respondents were asked which themes and trends in their companies would gain importance over the next twelve months: Customer analysis/segmentation (60 percent), digital sales management (57 percent) and big data analytics/CRM intelligence (51 percent). All things considered, 46 percent of respondents see their companies as prepared only to some extent, while 45 percent are looking at good conditions. To contact customers, 87 percent of participants use the company’s website; 79 percent contact their customers by telephone and the same percentage contact them in person. Social networks (63 percent) and apps (31 percent) don’t get near to these values.

Accessing customer information through digitization

The authors of the study also wanted to know to what extent digitization has changed customer relationships with the company. The use of customer information is the most significant change, according to 73 percent of the study participants. 62 percent highlight improved direct interaction with customers while 58 percent claim an improved customer experience. At the same time, digitization in CRM presents challenges for companies. 71 percent state that digitization is progressing faster than the changes needed within their companies to adequately respond to the digitization. The employees’ existing qualities are often not sufficient, as 69 percent see new employee skills as essential. These two consequences are by far the most mentioned. In third place among the challenges, the lack of integration of a fragmented system landscape is mentioned by 49 percent of respondents.

CRM platforms of vital importance

CRM platforms are a tool that is currently of vital importance for companies and their customer relations and will remain so in future. 73 percent generally prefer this technology. The most named platforms, with 48 percent, are Social CRM and Mobile CRM.

The most used CRM software by far comes from SAP (33 percent), followed by Microsoft Dynamics CRM (21 percent) and Salesforce (18 percent). The latter is however usually the focus when companies are interested in software. Then 45 percent look at Salesforce, 26 percent at Microsoft Dynamics CRM and 26 percent at SAP.

Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
Image: Egor – Fotolia/Adobe Stock

Tags for this article CRM (104) Customer Service (98) Digitization (164)

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