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How Artificial Intelligence Technologies Are Changing the Face of CRM

Category: B2B News

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a science fiction concept, but a tool that could change nearly every single aspect of our lives. From the entertainment industry to technology, each step forward into a more automatized future is bringing us to the brink of near dependency on AI. It provides faster solutions and eliminates the natural factor of “human error” that is often considered unforgivable by customers.

And, thus, artificial intelligence has dipped its toes into the world of business, slowly creeping toward the field of customer relationship management (CRM).

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The purpose of its use for customer care is not to dehumanize the process, but perhaps find better and faster solutions by reaching beyond the limitations of an actual employee. AI can only be considered useful when it’s mimicking or at least trying to simulate the human brain. This implies adaptation, learning, making decisions and applying them based on a set of rules and data. It’s from this point forward that technology has progressed to an extent when that crucial aspect might actually be possible. Many businesses are set to benefit greatly from it.

In fact, today’s companies are fortunate that these solutions exist to manage specific activities that would’ve otherwise required staff members.

The Chance to Focus On What Counts

Focusing on CRM has become a vital aspect of companies worldwide. Due to the ever-increasing competition, now fiercer even between big brands and startups, customer care, loyalty, and satisfaction have become priorities. It’s no longer important to provide a good product, but have a way to manage crisis situations that could ensue as well. A team of well-trained employees is needed to make sure that customer retention remains high, and they must perform their tasks well:

  • Finding new potential customers implies designing new ways to attract them;
  • Converting visitors to customers means an excellent delivery of product or services;
  • Retaining customers is the most significant aspect, as client loyalty is increasingly difficult to obtain in a world where businesses attempt to out-do each other.

Artificial intelligence has become a problem-solving solution to these every-day challenges that employees encounter. It can be incredibly useful in managing big data and streamlining labor-intensive activities that would’ve otherwise wasted resources. A team must deal with paperwork, documents, invoices, emails, correspondence, receipts, deliveries, and an endless number of insurance claims. They are standard procedures and in accordance with basic business rules. It’s not an area where a human can add their value.

Implementing AI solutions can actively improve productivity by allowing the personnel to concentrate on what matters. They can get involved in problems where human input is a must, such as building relationships with customers. It can remove the burden of menial tasks, which are often necessary and must be executed perfectly on the first try. Artificial intelligence will not present with issues of misfiling, calculation errors, mistaken names or numbers, and it will not put off dealing with a challenging customer due to personal reasons.

Tremendous amounts of data and inbound information that each company deals with can be handled more easily and faster. And this is without placing the task in the hands of employees who will not unleash their true potential by solving them.

Better Understanding of Customers

The purpose of AI is to learn continuously in a way that a human employee would. Companies may be overloaded with data and CRM departments have a lot of information regarding their customers. This includes socio-economic demographics and purchase history that employees have to take into consideration. However, AI solutions will provide with a better and more efficient way of dealing with the tremendous amounts of information. For starters, it could provide useful insights and actively improve marketing strategies.

All the information will be processed and could offer details about spending habits that would otherwise take time and resources to find. Companies could profit from it, in addition to customer surveys and tools like Google Analytics. The program would offer insight regarding client behavior before, during, or after making a purchase, thus aiding in client satisfaction assessment. It could understand which customers are more profitable and more likely to respond to a new product, depending on their history.

An AI would be more efficient at objectively analyzing and observing customer patterns, which would ultimately improve CRM. Information can be automatically collected through cookies, and a profile is easily more estimated based on that data. Millions of transactions can be analyzed every single day.

Not Just a Directory, But a Consultant

Companies are in competition with each other for finding the right employees. Control has shifted when it comes to putting together a talented team, from the hands of the employees into those of the applicants. There are many options for employment, which makes the search difficult for HR recruiters who struggle to find the right candidate and hire them before anyone else does. A lot of time is spent analyzing large amounts of data of applicant information.

Regular CRM platforms often manage the process just fine. However, AI implementation can switch the gears from acting like a basic directory that passively stores information to a consulting software that actively finds suitable candidates. It can tell recruiters directly which were the best candidates and at a far better time. New employees could be found more quickly through the objective recommendations rather than perusing through documents.

An AI-drive CRM can act as an advisor, and not only a database to store all the important information.

The Perfect Assistant

Automation is a potentially powerful tool, and there are success stories where efficiency has been dramatically improved through the use of artificial intelligence for CRM. It creates more successful marketing strategies, by managing and sending messages directly, without the need of input. This could range in its uses from an organizational standpoint to customer segmentation when it comes to promoting services or products.

Each client has their own preference, spending habits, and history. An efficient marketing strategy would use that information for the purpose of separating the customer base for the team to create a different method for each category. However, that takes quite a lot resources away from the business. AI-driven CRM systems could efficiently do the segmentation for them by analyzing the data more quickly and more effectively. It would make the job of a sales manager or executive much easier.

The platform makes recommendations on who and when to call by sending automatic notifications based on quickly analyzed data. It wouldn’t simply limit the responsibility of the staff, who would find relief in not having to deal with the information themselves. Instead, it would empower them by improving their efficiency and productivity.

It’s The Step Beyond Cloud Solutions

In our 2018 SaaS Industry Market Report, we disclosed that 59% of all cloud workflows will be delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) by the end of the year. This increase in use has deemed cloud solutions as one of the pillars of effective CRM. The ability to store information and keep it at the fingertips of customer care agents to share has become a crucial aspect of any successful business. All the data is available across numerous devices and platforms. However, the advancement only set the stage for AI.

There are still security concerns for SaaS users that have not yet been fixed, but artificial intelligence could repair some of the issues while being proficient for CRM. The bases have been set, and the improvements have made it possible for cloud software to support them. AI technology is becoming more important in the world of business, and it’s growing each year. It’s only a matter of time before certain features are integrated into every single cloud-based solution out there, especially when dealing with a lot of data.

Some form of human interaction in CRM will always be necessary, but managing cold, hard information could be easily done through artificial intelligence. The amounts of data will only increase, and there’s only so much cloud software can handle. When it comes to machine learning or learning from the best practices, that’s where AI will excel. It can take the input, sort it, categorize it, and interpret it within the cloud for customer care agents. And CRM is just one of the branches where it will continue to be implemented.

Multitasking Becomes the Norm

Marketing techniques have moved past the age of flyers and TV ads. A lot of aspects of our lives are now decisively influenced by numerous media channels. This includes the traditional TV commercials, to social media, which has a wide array of platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat are becoming viable marketing tools for promotion or CRM. It separates the old from the new, as it shows a true devotion in a company that keeps up with technology advancements and trends.

A smart customer care service that excels at CRM needs to handle all those platforms, along with regular services, such as email, phone calls, and others. An AI-drive system will efficiently handle a good majority, especially if it enables natural language and voice as an input option (Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana are a few examples). It can answer questions, identify new opportunities, or even solve problems of moderate difficulty. Or, it may identify a situation where a live customer care agent is actually needed instead of wasting resources on minor problems.

Most importantly, it can handle all of these at the same time. No matter the platforms, an AI-drive CRM will successfully engage customers and offer solutions to issues that require no more than a quick search. It’s a major change on how companies can deal with their clients, as they will have their information much faster and without any waiting time for an agent to free up.

However, we are still processing this futuristic concept, and there are doubts regarding the safety of artificial intelligence and its implementation. It will take further advancements before we see it immersed in every business aspect of a company, but there is little doubt that it will happen. It’s a powerful tool of the future, one that would improve productivity, efficiency, and speed.

It’s estimated that 85% of businesses will start implementing AI solutions for their CRM by 2020. It seems inevitable that with further advancements, artificial intelligence will move from a novelty tool or IT commodity to a must-have feature and dire necessity of every business.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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