Bots, AI and Marketing Automation. Welcome to the CRM 4.0 Era
CRM 4.0 is the set of technological platforms, services and digital communication tools that allow brands to come into contact and interact with their customers. Many things have already been written about Industry 4.0, but we rarely read about CRM 4.0.
The impression is that the growth of AI solutions is proceeding slowly in the services sector. The reality is that it is not.
CRM has definitely entered the world of 4.0. The adoption of AI and bots in customer service management is growing, multichannel options (websites, apps, chats, emails, messaging tools, social networks) frequently appear as part of marketing strategies and the complexity generated by a growing number of touchpoints continues to increase.
The New Inbound: Bots Serving Customers and Brands
In relation to inbound contacts, customer interactions are increasingly enabled by bots and automated or semi-automated applications: chatbots, voicebots, virtual assistants, conversational IVRs.
Some bots replace all or part of human beings in the management of conversations with customers or work to support contact center operators. Other bots and software algorithms help brands to acquire customer data and useful information to enrich customer profiling.
While others allow you to monitor customer tendencies or react instantly with customized marketing proposals based on a consumer’s interest for a product or service.
These applications don’t completely replace other traditional channels such as the contact center or physical networks, but they can certainly help guide and manage customers across the digital ecosystem whilst increasing valuable interactions with an articulated brand.
Even in the world of the Internet of Things, such as applications for shared mobility or for remote control of home devices, can favor the spread of a system of digital relations between brands and customers of the CRM 4.0 type.
Outbound Opportunities: Marketing Automation
Similarly, to inbound, where the bots substitute the activities that in the past were carried out by the customer service agents, Marketing Automation platforms are now partially replacing outbound telemarketing’s human activities.
In addition to an advantage in terms of efficiency, the platforms are able to manage multi-channel communication in a more integrated way, offering a high-level of tailored and customer specific proposals. Furthermore, these platforms together with analytic services are able to increasingly predict when is the right time to contact a customer and on which channel, further increasing conversion rates and efficiencies.
How to Implement CRM 4.0? Assist Digital’s Strategy
The potential for communication and engagement with customers through a CRM 4.0 strategy is enormous. The critical element for success is mastering the new ecosystem’s complexity of technologies, applications, processes and content, all of which require organisational models suited to fostering collaboration between all the components necessary to realize the services: Customer centricity is still only a vision for many companies with only a few having really achieved this.
Considering the degree of process and solution complexity and the fragmentation present in this area our strategy as a partner in implementing CRM 4.0 is underpinned by three main principles:
1. Customer Centricity. With the seemingly limitless choice of technology and evolving capabilities it is critical that the choice and use of technology is tailored to facilitating the achievement of the project’s goals and not as the driver. From the outset of a project we make a clear pact with our customers to define specification models of interaction and customer management: customer experience management as a goal. Generally, achieving customer centricity requires process and management design and the adoption of a user centered design methodology, involving customers in the processes of design, evaluation, testing and on-going service evaluation. Continual monitoring is the most effective way of avoiding internal technological complexity that could impact on the return on investment, the customer experience and overall brand value.
2. Hybrid Solutions. Technology is not yet able to fully replace human beings and perhaps it never will, particularly in being able to communicate feeling and empathy. It is therefore necessary to avoid a blanket self-care automation-oriented approach, in which the human aspect of the relationship is absent. A focus on providing services that can seamlessly support a customer across all touchpoints whether managed by bots or by people is fundamental. Hybrid solutions, which combine automated activities and human interaction in the management of processes and services contribute to achieving a higher quality of service.
3. Collaboration and Orchestration. Effective collaboration between people (management, professionals, corporate departments, external suppliers etc) and technology in particular the orchestration of automated processes, data and applications are central components to a successful CRM 4.0 project and where our experience, people and skills can contribute significantly.
In situations where it’s possible to ensure an end-to-end service, all these elements converge towards the goal of attaining business results and achieving customer experience over time.