In the year 2022 the following themes will continue to become the norm: agility, artificial intelligence, new leadership & empowerment of – remote working – employees and data-driven decision making. Driven by the redefined services expectations, rapidly increasing (digital) touchpoints and changing customer journeys. Regardless of B2C, B2B , B2G, NGO businesses. This requires the ability to successfully adapt to these changes. In this post the changing Customer centric business with the related CRM & Customer experience topics. Make sure to read on!
Partly under the influence of the global pandemic, I see major changes. Because of the changing – high demanding – services expectations, a clear sense of urgency to make the required change happen: transformation to Customer centric business, design and implement a Customer experience strategy, implement tech like CRM.
In this post the 2022 trends and developments in Customer centric business, CRM and Customer experience. These are based upon recent study’s and experience as an (international) CRM & Customer experience consultant and judge.
- Customer centric business
- Trends and developments:
- Customer experience: agility, data driven decision making, new leadership & employee empowerment
- CRM: Internet of Things, Social CRM, artificial intelligence
- Next steps
Customer centric business.
Customer centric business is – driven by the continuous shift in customer expectations and behaviour – absolute distinctiveness in successfully doing long term, sustainable, business. Customer centric business requires to put yourselves in the shoes of the customer – JTBD, Jobs to be done – when designing and delivering Customer interactions. JTBD based on the Voice of the Customer (VoC.)
This requires a clear – long term – vision: what do we stand for as a company? What place do customers and employees have in the business operations? What is the current and future customer journey state. All this requires a clear vision and acting accordingly!
Customer centric business? What is the relationship with Customer experience and CRM? My definition of Customer centric business:
Customers: prospects, buyers, employees.
To make Customer centric business tangible, I use an – integrated – approach with a “blue” (the cold) and a “red” (the warm) part:
- Blue/ cold part, tech: CRM, data and processes
- Red/ warm part, Customer experience: strategy, organization collaboration and agile organisation
Successfully customer centric business requires both the Red and the Blue part!
The Customer interactions design and delivery based upon an integrated approach with the blue/ cold part and the red/ warm part. Example:
- blue/ cold part: connecting digital touchpoints to CRM
- red/ warm part: embrace new service expectations
Trends and developments Customer centric business
Trends and developments are split in two parts:
- Customer experience 2022
- CRM 2022
1. Trends and developments: Customer experience 2022
The Customer experience trends and developments I see for 2022: new leadership & empowerment of employees, Agility and Data driven decision making. I describe this items in the follow paragraph.
1.1 New leadership and empowerment of employees
Driven by Covid, employees work from home as complete customer contact center departments. This requires a different way of leadership and management. In my opinion, mainly “letting go” by placing responsibilities at the level of customer facing employees. Direct ‘control’ is no longer possible after all!
This requires working in a different way upon employees and customer engagement: from “the customer first” in Customer experience with Covid there is clear trend “employees first” in Customer experience.
- Employees first? Engaged customer facing employees at the center of business operations has significant positive effects on customer engagement. Engaged employees in turn lead to engaged customers. According to various studies, engaged employees are one of the most important drivers of Customer experience. For example, closing the loop quickly in case of dissatisfied customers.
- New leadership? Leaders need to be more deliberate about creating opportunities for deeper connections within their companies. Otherwise the risk employees “hide” into their silos. Silos are one of the greatest obstacles for a Customer centric culture. Leaders must engage a culture of listening, understanding and inspiring employees to feel more connected. Examples behavior in the context of customer centric culture. Embrace strengthening personal relationships inside and outside the company based on empathy. Embrace a culture of learning and (continuous) improvement: closing the loop.
The time of a predictable world is far behind us. Nowadays flexible – agile driven – organisation is key. The agile framework and Customer-centric business in conjunction with Lean forms a fantastic trio.
Example, introducing new technology such as a CRM system. This requires an integrated approach based on the blue part (IT change, implementing new technology) and the red part (business change, new way of working with a new system):
- Agile framework? Implement CRM, iteratively and incrementally add value per sprint with new functionalities such as automated processes.
- Customer centric business? New way of working, remove blocking organizational obstacles per sprint. This transforms the organization into customer-centric business based upon a step by step approach.
- Lean? Customer interactions, customer journey and touchpoints: optimize processes with the Lean methodology and translate these with CRM.
1.3 Data driven decision making
Data-driven working and decision making is one of the trends for 2022. It is a relatively new way of working. Instead of making decisions based on “gut feeling”, making data driven decisions. This requires qualitative, accessible data. In many organizations, a lot of data about customers and business operations are available. The challenge is determining the ‘correct data’. This requires a clear, organisation-wide Voice of the Customer strategy. For the execution is “tech” required, VOC tooling. But, most of all, for the execution is a culture shift required.
- appear to save costs, are more flexible and more scalable.
- starts with a Voice of the Customer. Collect and determine Customer data from all physical and digital touchpoints. Both structured data and unstructured data such as emails.
- requires the right tech/ CRM to unlock the data
Technology is just a means to the end. It is the strategy and execution: data driven behavior of management and employees supported by tech.
2. Trend and developments: CRM 2022
Common barriers to invest in CRM include reservations about the required business change (the red part, successfully adoption the tool), the cost of ownership and the required IT change (the blue part, lacking resources and knowledge to implement a CRM system.) As CRM systems continue on their trend of becoming faster and simpler to implement, easier to use (using voice and conversational UI) there are significant fewer barriers to invest in CRM. What are the 2022 CRM trends and developments?
2.1 Artificial intelligence (AI) driven CRM
AI is affecting all industries including CRM, AI is becoming a key part of CRM systems. Practically all major CRM providers have been using AI for several years now. CRM with AI makes a shift from “entering information in CRM” towards a “meaningful broad context for everyone with customer contacts”.
These techniques are based on predictive analytics and machine learning. Large amounts of data are analysed for interesting patterns. Based on this, for example:
- opportunities can be prioritised
- problems identified and recommendations made – next best action – for the best actions in customer interactions
Example. A large bank has set up AI for root cause analysis of all service calls. The results are a significant reduction in the number of calls, resulting in lower costs and higher customer satisfaction.
AI requires a reasonable amount of data. AI will benefit in the first place organsations with a lot of data, in general B2C, B2G and NGO businesses. But AI benefits also B2B and drives both adoption and data driven decision making.
2.2 Social CRM
Nowadays there are more than 3 billion active social media users. Every business – regardless B2C, B2B, B2G, NGO – needs a social media strategy to increase brand exposure and engage employees and customers. When integrating CRM with social media channels – social CRM – its drives customer centric business: businesses can leverage social information understand markets & customers and provide a better customer experience.
It also allows businesses to create better product offerings and respond to customers more quickly and efficiently. Some other advantages: It empowers the customer support team, publish relevant content and companies can get instantaneous feedback from customers to improve their service.
2.3 Internet of Things (IoT) enabled CRM
Customer journeys and their related touchpoints are changing rapidly. Internet of Things is a quite new digital touchpoint and is a big game-changer in CRM systems. IoT integration provides CRM platforms with extensive insights from this touchpoint: customer behavior, usage, enabling quickly and effectively closing the loop:
- businesses will be able to fix errors in products before customers even notice them.
- service representatives will be able to solve problems quickly and effectively.
Companies can detect customer dissatisfaction and act proactively to retain their loyalty, IoT is for 2022 an important touchpoint for customer centric business!
We are living in a rapidly changing world with fast changing customer expectations and redefined services expectations. B2C, B2B, B2G and NGO. This requires a – sustainable – long-term vision and strategy. A strategy based on an integrated approach with the blue (Tech) and red part (business).
With an Agile based execution of the strategy, adding value incrementally and iteratively based on a clear roadmap. Within a lot of – silo driven – organisation a blocking issue for a clear roadmap is running a central portfolio of initiatives. In a SAFe Agile offers a fantastic framework for this: the SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework – is a set of organizational and workflow principles and Agile working methods. One of the principles is an Obeya room. A physical and digital space for centrally managing the entire portfolio of initiatives. Translate the initiatives into Epics, including Epic ownership. Discuss the progress weekly with a representative of the entire organization, both IT and business. From the – Epic – choices to be made, the translation in the Agile BusDevOps – Business, Development, Operations – scrum teams for creating value per sprints.
Next steps? The complexity of the strategy and execution of Customer centric business depends on the context and art of the business:
- market: competition, legislation
- company: brand recognition
- business: kind of business, age: start up, disruptive, mature
- starting point: Is tech (CRM) already in place, or is the culture already customer centric?
- the sense of urgency for making the change happen
- experience: implementing tech, change management, agile
Every business is unique, so the customer centric business case is unique based on the context and kind of business of the company. Rely on your own strengths!
- Exchange views about Customer centric business, CRM of Customer experience?
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