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Special Series: Ask the (Social) CRM Experts

Posted by Diane Berry on January 15, 2013

Part II: CRM in 2013

We’re a few weeks into 2013, and companies are facing a powerful confluence of overwhelming and diverse customer data, tools that provide a greater degree of insight into that data, and a customer base that demands a more personalized, real-time experience. We believe that companies ended 2012 poised to use this convergence to supercharge their customer service operations, as noted in the first installment from our esteemed panelists that posted last week.

Is 2013 the year the perfect storm is averted? Our experts weigh in with some bold predictions for CRM.

Esteban Kolsky, consultant and analyst at thinkJar, formerly with Gartner:

Esteban Kolsky“From the very beginning, CRM experts have been predicting the advent of CRM 360 – being able to see everything about the client, from all angles, for all stakeholders in the organization. We have been unable to achieve those things until now – mostly due to the lackluster performance of Analytical CRM.

The tools and technologies being leveraged to deal with “Big Data” (if such a thing exists) are also being applied to traditional CRM – which is the only CRM companies are using. Thus, the improved analytics and the generated insights are making the promise of CRM 360 get within reach – if not yet here (we still need to understand data better, but at least we have the right tools to leverage it). This is going to amaze most people in 2013 as they begin to understand the data they have, what it means, and how to make it work towards the corporate goals, not just for reporting purposes.”

Paul Greenberg, president at The 56 Group, and well known as the Father of Social CRM. Author of CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers.

Paul Greenberg“2013 is actually a year where we will continue to see the mastery of Big Data and thus new levels of mastery of the integration of traditional sources of structured and new sources of unstructured data. That means more knowledge about the customer. That said, it means that 2013 portends the rise of new and improved ways to manage information – Knowledge management (KM) – which has been on the cusp of major change for the past few years. KM transformation to a new level will become a beacon in 2013, as companies try to not only gain insights but also handle the distribution of that knowledge and insight. Additionally, because of what are likely to be multiple instances of events such as what is going on with Instagram’s change in their Terms of Service (which allows them to sell their members photos without their permission and no opt out possible), more and more companies are awkwardly trying to figure out the way to monetize all this data. Because it impacts the distribution of data and data ownership issues, there will be privacy and regulatory discussions on who owns digital data at a level we have yet to experience. It’s all part of the pain of maturation.”

Both Paul and Esteban think that technologies that help companies leverage value from diverse and unstructured Big Data are starting to make a difference. So do we – would you agree? Is 2013 the year of actionable customer insight? Do we still have a ways to go?


Comments

  • Tom Smith
    Posted on January 17, 2013

    “Understanding the needs and expectations of people inspires an important element often missing in day-to-day business strategy — empathy.”

    It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get empathy from data. Empathy comes from talking to customers and prospects to determine what their needs and wants are and why.

    This requires a dialogue — in-person, on the phone, via email or social media. This dialogue allows the marketer, or any employee for that matter, to ask a very important question — why?

    You may have to ask a respondent “why” four or five times to get to the emotional driver behind their needs, their wants and their decisions.

    Once you understand the emotional connection a consumer has, or wants to have with a product, service or brand, you can begin to deliver that emotional connection. However, it must be done with humans, not data.

    Human interaction is the only thing that will enhance CRM in 2013, or beyond.

  • Diane Berry
    Posted on January 18, 2013

    Hi Tom, Thanks for engaging with us. We (I will take the liberty of speaking for our expert contributors), are likely in violent agreement with you. The technology enables an informed, aware conversation–it can point you to the right questions to ask, and examples to provide. None of us would entirely remove the human touch, unless that is the choice of the customer–self service. Empathy is an important part of the equation — I think we’ve all by now experienced the virtual agent that simply gives you ways to navigate information, which often is not relevant to the challenge at hand. Empathetic? Not so much. Informative? Sometimes.


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