How CIOs and CTOs should move from multichannel to channel-less CRM

Channel-less CRM is not only a good thing for customers, it also benefits businesses with greater efficiency and cost reduction.

New data touchpoints like wearables and voice technology offer today’s customers greater choice than ever as to how they engage with companies. For businesses operating within the confines of legacy IT systems however, every new channel means a new data silo, and the more disparate customer data is, the harder it is for customer service teams to deliver high satisfaction.

According to Gartner, “over 85% of organisations have fragmented customer engagement channels leading to inconsistent customer experience.” Until technology at the back end can connect all of these touchpoints and create one source of truth instantly accessible to every customer service agent, customer service will suffer.

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What are the benefits of channel-less CRM?

1. One source of truth on data

When the right technology at the back-end isn’t there, businesses cannot always ensure that data is consistent and available between channels. Siloed data can cause customer frustration and loss of sales.

An always-on AI doesn’t differentiate data and actionable insights between email, chatbot, SMS, voice or any other channel, so consistency is ensured no matter the channel. It also means businesses can maintain full control of customer data and ensure it is being handled properly and in compliance with GDPR.

2. Insight-led engagement

AI tools are available to businesses which provide real time insights, decisioning and collate all interactions between your business and that individual customer. This information flows through a central hub which sits behind all channels, analyses data and decides the next-best action for that customer.

Having one AI hub means no useful data gets lost. This is vital for an organisation to understand its customer’s context for personalised, relevant and convenient communication. If a customer is about to move house, the company could be proactive in asking whether they would like their communication preferences to go online-only.

With a central AI tool, this is all possible. Using AI, businesses can even predict what the customer is likely to need or ask for next, before they contact customer service themselves. These insights can be accessed by sales, marketing and customer service at any time, and means the business is always able to deliver what the customer actually needs in that moment.

3. Improved employee efficiency

Moving to channel-less CRM with a central AI hub also means businesses can cut down internal siloes that would act as roadblocks to completing the customer journey. Combining the benefits of proactive customer service using AI with solutions like digital case management (DCM) and business process management (BPM) businesses can automate unnecessary tasks, reduce workloads and drive employee efficiency from end-to-end.

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How can CIOs and CTOs move to channel-less CRM?

As the ones in charge of the IT systems that impact the quality of CRM and thus level of customer experience, CIOs and CTOs are pivotal in making the organisational move from multi-channel to channel-less CRM. The best way for them to achieve channel-less CRM is to create an information ‘hub’ that brings the experience of all the channels together by informing all customer engagements using one central AI tool.

The first step is to create a flow of customer data through channel-created siloes. Businesses can equip a central platform with a complete set of capabilities for innovative and cost-effective end-to-end automation. Using robotic process automation (RPA) and digital process automation (DPA) to bring people, processes, and systems together, even the largest businesses can safeguard against missed opportunities to serve customers.

The second step is to set up case and business process management to set out the processes that need to be taken to meet the customer’s expectations and track progress. This could involve everything from sending prompts to internal teams to automatically deploying a service request from a customer.

The third step is setting up intelligent automation – training AI to calculate the ‘next-best action’ it should take – the next best thing the company should do for the customer. Perhaps a customer’s car insurance is nearly ready for renewal. The AI would prompt a customer service agent to call them with relevant upgrade offers. If a frequently bought item is out of stock, the hub can trigger an automated text message to be sent to the customer to let them know, apologise and offer alternatives.

Enterprises can now seamlessly engage with customers as they move from channel to channel, ensuring their context and history moves with them. Customers will not forgive and forget poor experiences easily, so businesses need to capitalise on AI and automation now to be able to adapt to and meet evolving consumer expectations and needs or they will lose out to competitors that do.

Written by Lee Whittington, 1:1 customer engagement specialist at Pegasystems

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