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In 2018, CRM was focused on ambitious CX goals. However, as businesses face the challenging reality of implementation, the focus in 2019 will shift towards more tactical improvements through CRM specialists able to tailor the experience to enhance customer satisfaction. This shift will be aided by more advanced uses of innovative use of technology and the emerging applications of AI technology, which will also prove instrumental in addressing shifting customer attitudes towards data safety.

As specialists in CRM implementation, at redk we’ve put together some of the key trends we expect to see in 2019.

More specialised, tactical improvements

As the challenging reality of meeting customer expectations becomes increasingly apparent, more businesses will be looking to fine-tune their CRM. In 2019, these improvements will revolve around:

Customer Intelligence

Customers expect individualised experiences that take into account previous interactions with the business and their unique circumstances. In 2019, CRM will work harder to gather more appropriate insights to accurately deliver a memorable customer experience.

User-friendliness

86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better user-experience. With CRM, businesses can build the user-friendly service their customers are after. This will involve developing APIs with a more service oriented orientation, this should improve how brands are able to connect with customers regardless of their level of tech knowledge.

User Guidance

The employee experience is a huge focus of how CRM delivers value to an organisation. The application of the tech trends will result in a more intelligent relationship between the software and the user. In addition, many manufacturers are improving from delivering only automation to providing a guided process, where the software not only automates a business process but it also guides the best next step for the internal user.

Social integration

CRMs that focus on omni-channel delivery are nothing new, but as we move into 2019, the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple social media channels is paramount. Social media represents a gold mine of customer data and first-party insight. By properly leveraging CRM potential, you can convert this knowledge into marketing and business strategy will make your company stand out this year.

Greater focus on data protection due to highly streamlined processes

As greater internal integration of CRM platforms allows for company-wide data and insight sharing, workflows are streamlined and silos eliminated, contributing to a more complete view of prospects and customers. This saves companies time and money, reducing the hour (or more) that 32% of sales reps currently spend on data entry.

However, as CRMs become more collaborative and data-sharing more streamlined, data protection and digital ethics will represent an emerging trend in 2019. Following GDPR, consumers are now more conscious of their data than ever before. Forrester predicts that the world will progressively move towards a ‘Zero Trust’ position on data security, meaning CRMs will need to better manage internal data to deliver solutions that provide peace of mind for the customer, and complete security for the company.

Vertical specialisation and sector focus

With greater focus on personalisation and individualised experiences, large CRM companies face competition from more specialised providers. As niche providers step into the market to offer fine-tuned, specific solutions to customer needs, the market as a whole is becoming increasingly complex. Within this landscape, it’s important to remember that no two companies have exactly the same CRM needs, especially across different industries. In 2019, we will see major players turning their focus to flexible and scalable CRM solutions that can adapt to the needs of each business to compete with smaller businesses and new incumbents.

AI and NLP

This year, artificial intelligence will continue to be a key area of growth for CRM platforms. As AI matures, it will become more applicable in new settings. We predict that one of these new uses will be to increase a CRM’s ability to optimise internal workflows, specially in the area of customer service, alongside improving customer-interaction analysis to provide important insights on customer behaviour. This will be an increasingly important trend in 2019, particularly as service personalisation becomes evermore important.

OOne of the most specific uses of AI in 2019 will be employing Natural Language Processing (NLP) to reduce friction and deliver customer satisfaction at all stages of the funnel. By being able to detect urgency, levels of satisfaction, and what customers are asking for in emails, sales agents will be more empowered to produce the high level of service customers expect.

Blockchain

The concept of utilising blockchain technology in CRM software has been hovering on the horizon for years. It’s possible that in 2019, the application of this tech will finally start being productised. When made available, there will be diverse applications for blockchain in CRM, including:

– Removing the need for a third party in financial transactions
– Ensuring greater data security for cloud-based business
– Providing data security and control for customers

As we expect customers to be more protective of their information, providing better data security will prove vital in fostering trust with your business – a key step in driving loyalty.

There is an overall trend towards developing more finely tuned CRM capabilities that gather data and insights to drive the customer service experience. With this trend at the heart of the industry’s growth, differentiating your business in 2019 will mean taking advantage of the specialised expertise needed to maximise your company’s potential. At redk, we provide businesses with the best CRM solution for their needs, alongside tailored and ongoing advice that empowers companies to drive long-term, lasting results.

If you’d like to realise your business’ potential in 2019, click here and discover how redk can help you achieve your goals in the new year.