What are the consequences of technological change and new social habits?
In the last two decades, the subject of customer relationship turned from specialized initiatives in related areas such as marketing, sales and service into a consolidated concept and discipline. Through a single umbrella, which came to be called Customer Relationship Management, CRM, standards were set for the automation of processes that govern commercial activity in general, such as demand generation to sell, deliver, collect, and offer services. The goal was to manage these processes in an integrated manner in order to generate tangible results for organizations, while ensuring customer satisfaction and compliance with the business practice ethical limits.
Although the concepts remain completely valid, technological developments, together with new channels and media expansion, have given this process a very strong analytical bias. What used to be an automation technology consolidation and an integration of operational or tactical process lost importance, and the construction of processes that capture information from everyday life interactions became predominant. Even before the benefits of CRM 1.0 implementation and the new concept of use and efficiency achievement by process automation were realized, the revolution between company’s and customer’s relationship caused by social media brought a new need – the company’s new collaborative environment engagement, called CRM 2.0.
At the same time, sales force and marketing automation specialized processes were gradually pushed aside and thus, distanced themselves from the day-to-day lead generation, qualifying of needs, and the qualification of sales opportunities. The result is the loss of effectiveness and sales results.
It seems contradictory that while it exponentially increases the contact and market knowledge possibilities with CRM 2.0, there is also a loss of opportunities with poorly monitored and managed marketing and sales processes. It is useless to know the client and his habits, to be in constant contact with him, if when a selling opportunity arises, the sales processes are poorly designed and don’t lead to effective results.
And what can we expect in the future? From the technology point of view, just as in other automation areas, it is expected that the CRM architecture will change significantly in the coming years, taking advantage of developments in the processing environment, and new systemic models represented by cloud computing environments and business process management systems (BPM). Large packages will be replaced by more specialized and functional groups integrated through standard business processes and designed according to best practices. These will be adapted to each company’s needs and operated by increasingly distributed Internet users. From the usage perspective, this return to functional concept specialization will re-establish the need to adopt adhering models and practices to specific activities.
Methodologies must return strongly to the scene, bringing back the importance of training and preparation not only to the professional’s business environment, but in the adopted techniques and methods they will use to succeed. Smaller, more prepared teams and the use of well-aligned systems with best practices will bring about increased effectiveness and results.
With all of this, customer relationship management will return to discipline and concept of a best practice library which, simultaneously enables sales, marketing and services specialized process automation, integrated to each company business processes, based on channel integration proposed in CRM 2.0.