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Your Future Is Now

In a recent interview with Software Advice, Paul Greenberg, founder, The 56 Group, and author of CRM at The Speed of Light, responded to an analyst’s comment of ‘SocialCRM is the future’ by saying: “SocialCRM is not the future – it’s the present. Personalization is the near future.” And as for customer engagement?  Paul went on to comment on the fact that in larger enterprise settings there are: “…customer interaction engines that are personalizing in real-time today”.  And what makes customer engagement deployed in the cloud or in a hybrid scenario such an attractive and consumable option is that leveraging a unified platform enables an experience which scales to incorporate many consumers while retaining personalized dialogues for sales, marketing and customer service professionals.

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How Exciting Is Customer Engagement in Real-Time? 

Recently, a colleague of mine followed Software Advice CRM Analyst Ashley Verrill on twitter and in so doing, triggered a series of real-time and social interactions which culminated in our reading the findings of Software Advice’s new study around CRM titled: CRM BuyerView. According to the respondents through more than 5000 interactions with software buyers; customer requirements most often cited by companies who had never implemented CRM were around some of the fundamentals: account management, contact management, opportunity management.  But moving toward more mature CRM users and in mid- to large-sized companies, we gleaned that reporting and analytics factor as some of the top requested features in customer management software in 2013 – both evidenced by Software Advice’s CRM BuyerView Study as well as through our observations with customers here at SAP.


CRM BuyerView Perspectives

Support for analytics factoring so highly in the CRM BuyerView survey’s requirements for customer management software, includes the fact that social reporting and predictive analytics are becoming a necessity for any brand today who is tracking and responding to or “engaging in” social conversations and dialogues in real-time.

Ashley Verrill says that reporting and analytics are: “increasingly being integrated in CRM solutions to gather insights on the customer — ultimately providing a more personalized customer experience”. She sees heightened interest in gathering of social data and the insights that can be made actionable with analytical tools.  As an example, call center agents, or social customer service agents are able to customize the customer service they provide to their customers with this actionable data.

And while deployment options may vary, current trends indicate that brands are moving toward cloud or hybrid cloud for this real-time customer engagement.  Here’s a recent example of one company, T-Mobile USA, leveraging the cloud to engage customers in real-time.

In closing, Paul Greenberg wrote recently in a five-part series in Diginomica (a series that anyone interested in CRM should read) that: “CRM without integration of channels, personalization, and customer experience is not CRM.”  And that is true.  To engage your customers like never before, you’ll need an array of tools to satisfy the lion’s share of your customers.  You’ll want to create ‘consumable experiences’ so that you can treat each customer in a manner that is relevant, while scaling your ability to reach them in all their channels of choice with a unified experience.  And leading into 2014 – that means more intelligent customer service, personalized dialogues, relevant recommendations in-the-moment – and much, much more.

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