Everything is different now, the way we work, shop and learn. Within business, brands have had to take a major step back, reassess their practices and review how they engage with customers.
As things have changed, so have customer expectations and with that the requirements of customer experience. These shifts have laid bare what is working and not working in business, and one of the critical systems for sales and marketing professionals may be holding them back.
As James Frampton, SVP and General Manager EMEA at SugarCRM explains when sales professionals were recently asked about what CRM systems they currently have in place, nearly half stated they don’t meet their needs. Insufficient and out-of-date legacy systems are leaving businesses at risk of being left behind, with a bleak picture of companies struggling with platforms and data practices riddled with blind spots, busy work, and roadblocks.
A year of change
A clear reality came into focus over the past 12 months— companies are having a customer relationship crisis. The pandemic has made customer retention paramount, with heightened risks of incumbents losing customers and revenue to their competitors. Likewise, market challengers need to remain flexible and nimble to compete for new business. Yet with 43% of professionals, in SugarCRM’s new CRM and Sales Impact Report said that their CRM is too complex, unintuitive, and not user-friendly, why is more not being done to ensure businesses are placing CX at the heart of their operations?
At the start of the pandemic, 25 per cent of all businesses were forced to close, resulting in unforeseeable financial losses, but as we start to see changes occurring in the economy and faint sight of hope, businesses will need to make sure that all customers are provided with a seamless journey – CRM is the focal point of this journey.
These systems provide the foundational technology needed to drive engagement and deliver the experiences that keep customers coming back again and again. Yet for most companies, the customer view is insufficient, focusing only on the current stage of the customer’s journey, lacking contextual information to provide meaningful insight. 43 per cent of sales professionals cited their CRM systems as unintuitive, unable to provide critical data that would influence a customer’s experience. This coupled with a further third of respondents claiming information they did have access to was incomplete, irrelevant, and inaccurate, the CX quickly begins to breakdown – leading to customer churn and critical lost revenue.
Consolidation is Key
CRM systems have been playing an integral role in business for years, with their benefits and importance well documented, yet nearly half of businesses in the UK are allowing them to become unfit for purpose. Failure to update and to move with changing demands will cause businesses to fall behind, leading to losses. What is critical to unlocking the power of a full-functioning CRM system, is consolidation. By enabling all members of staff, at every touchpoint along the customer journey, to see the same data may sound obvious, yet is rarely done. In fact, 50 per cent of sales professionals reported they cannot access the same view of customer data across marketing, sales, and service – and it is this lack of consolidation and holistic approach which allows customers to fall through the cracks.
By ensuring your systems are married up, you can create a ‘high-definition’ picture of your customer. To do this, organisations must begin by redefining their customer concept, drawing on accurate, up-to-date information from multiple sources and from across the organisation, with 72 per cent of business leaders knowing this consolidated approach is key. By incorporating a complete historical record of every change event in the customer journey, organisations will achieve ‘HD-CX’, not only allowing themselves to track their customer’s movements, but crucially provide their customer with a seamless journey. By unlocking this potential, businesses can have a direct impact on their customer lifeline value, allow them to identify and eliminate churn, positively impacting their sales and all-important bottom line.
Change with the times
The business landscape has changed, and brands must learn to adapt and to change with it. Customer experience has arguably never been more important. With tough economic times ahead, each customer is precious and losing them to a competitor could be costly. Businesses can’t stand still, or they will be left behind. Ones that do remain frozen with a fragmented, outdated, and incomplete view of their customers, may find the gap between them and their competitors can no longer be closed.
However, if changes are made and businesses do adapt and adopt a more holistic view of customer experience and the systems that support it, they stand to gain increased customer retention, more revenue, and better business outcomes.