In the month of January, it’s common to take the time to reflect on the previous year, recount successes and learn from failures or near misses. It’s also time to examine the coming year to identify top trends that may have an impact on your key markets. For those focused on delivering Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies, key movements in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can have an impact on market initiatives.
IVR is an important element within CRM, whether the IVR serves as primarily an elective self-service channel or the means to access a live agent in the contact center. To remain at the top of the field, customer service divisions of an organization must be able to create the optimal experience for the customer, or risk pushing them toward the competition.
The creation of this optimal experience demands a focus on the core elements of CRM: strategy, process, people and technology. A recent Computer World blog examined top CRM trends of 2013 with a focus on the four key elements of CRM as highlighted in this Forrester (News - Alert) report.
In terms of strategy, the enterprise must be able to navigate the digital disruption as customers have higher expectations and more options than in the past. For the more enlightened company, the customer management strategy is being defined from external forces. The key focus is on becoming an experience-driven organization, which demands an active approach to the creation of optimal customer interactions.
The Right Approach to Process
Settling into 2013, a key initiative that will gain the most attention is the untamed process. A siloed approach to business process management (BPM) and front-office CRM projects is being replaced by cross-functionality initiatives focused on supporting invisible and untamed customer management processes. At the same time, companies are readily leveraging agile project management to allow for more flexibility in their approach to business management.
Embracing Technology for Customer Involvement
Technology has long been a focus in CRM initiatives, but the evolution in this space is driving key changes in customer interactions. For one, social customer engagement is expected to shift into the mainstream. To add value in this channel, organizations must be listening to customers, engaging in conversations to spread company messages, promoting word of mouth, supporting customers and embracing the customer contribution to the design and develop of products to improve the overall process.
At the same time, mobile applications will continue to empower consumers and employees, marketing technology will continue to drive innovation in customer engagement, companies must be able to accurately navigate the customer analytics ecosystem and the adoption of flexible CRM management activities will maximize the opportunities available with Software as a Service (SaaS (News - Alert)).
The Role People Play in Progress
For years, IVR has been considered a viable technology to help reduce the cost of customer care in the contact center. For 2013, disciplines that focus on the customer experience will not only cut costs, but also boost profits. An elimination of problems with the customer experience will deliver considerable benefits on both sides. Likewise, programs that concentrate on the Voice of the Customer (VOC) deliver considerable value for improving the customer experience.
As companies vie for the consumer dollar in 2013, those able to anticipate customer needs and create the optimal experience are likely to dominate the market. Companies unable to meet consumer expectations will quickly be left behind.
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