While the global CRM industry continues to grow – analyst group Gartner (News - Alert) has that sector pegged to outpace any other type of enterprise solution, including ERP and business intelligence in terms of sheer growth numbers – there are a number of drivers contributing to the phenomenal uptake of the technology.
Organizations of all sizes can find value in CRM, but it’s the largest of companies that have turned it into a critical business process that spans multiple departments. Once used largely by sales departments, CRM now crosses into a number of other functions. It can be used by the help desk or technical support to keep technicians current of a customer’s background with the company. It can be used by marketing to analyze customer behavior and tailor marketing activities. It can be used by product development personnel to determine what customers want and how they are using products. But most important, it can be used by the contact center to maintain a 360-degree view of the customer in order to improve the quality of service. (Customers intensely dislike calling a company and having to explain their entire history before they can expect service.)
The value of a CRM solution to the contact center has been boosted, according to a recent analysis on Trefis, by the addition of analytics and other features to the broader CRM platform.
“The advent of powerful analytical solutions that process enormous data sets to generate meaningful insights has been a strong driver to the growth in the CRM industry,” according to the Trefis team. “A CRM software platform typically generates sales and marketing leads by using existing customer buying preference data in B2B and B2C transactions. These leads help the business in identifying potential sources of additional revenue through targeted marketing campaigns for specific customer bases or cost-cutting options by identifying failed campaigns still in operation.”
This analysis can help contact center tailor new outbound campaigns, and determine which customers to focus which efforts on. The value to the contact center can also be enhanced with the linkage of CRM records to live call recordings or other recorded interactions (screen capture, for example). Solutions such as Virtual Observer by call recording solutions provider CSI (News - Alert) can be tailored to work with the CRM solution and allow the two systems to share data.
By putting all the relevant customer data in the same place – CRM and customer history plus real interactions – contact centers can maintain the most complete picture of the customer possible, ensuring that every interaction is personalized based on the customer’s true history with the company. No longer will customer-facing company employees have to go searching for recorded calls in order to find the right one: they can simply click on it from the context of the CRM platform, saving time and providing the tools required to improve the customer experience.
As CRM functionality broadens with the industry’s growth, expect its value to the contact center to continue rising. By making the best possible use of customer information, companies can engage in proactive customer support that can yield multiple benefits.