Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way companies do business in nearly every industry. With technological advancements unfolding at a record pace, businesses must keep up. Maintaining best practices for customer experience and satisfaction is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a business model that will generate future growth — businesses must adapt to the customer service standards set by AI technology.
In 2020, AI is predicted to make groundbreaking steps in improving Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. CRM’s main function is to help businesses manage customer data, practice successful market segmentation, prioritize leads and improve customer service. Adding AI can dramatically enhance these basic functions. While integrating AI technology into CRM comes with its challenges, the future of AI and CRM looks bright. By 2025, AI will be pervasive in everything.
For example, suppose you want to change your cell phone plan. Today, you have to do the research on pricing, availability and plans compared to how you use your phone (do you watch videos and use a lot of data, or are you more of a social media and text person?). The process takes several hours of research. In the future, you’ll ask your Alexa or Google Home to compare the available plans and recommend the best one for you within seconds. It will be the same thing with car insurance and saving for your kids’ college education. AI will answer many questions that now go unanswered or take hours and hours of research.
How Will AI Improve CRM Systems?
Given its relative newness in the CRM world, AI integration may sound intimidating. But AI can develop and advance CRMs when properly optimized. AI advances CRM systems by allowing for more strategic customer and lead management. In addition, AI streamlines multiple business processes so sales teams can focus more on helping customers directly.
Here are four ways AI integration is fostering invaluable CRM advancements.
Gather And Manage Customer Data
AI has made substantial progress in collecting and managing big data over the past few years. Businesses need to master this practice. The better you can optimize your customer data, the better you can meet your customers’ needs and attract new customers to your brand.
AI helps CRM systems better collect and manage customer data in a number of ways. Some advantages include:
- More efficient data collection
- Streamlined data management and organization
- Easier market segmentation
- Improved ability to build customer profiles
The emerging capabilities of AI in CRM allow businesses to learn about the needs of their customer bases and plan their marketing strategies accordingly. Your marketing team can focus on targeting the customers that are likely to come back and spend more, which leads to more conversions.
Many AI vendors will provide three key services in data gathering and management:
- They’ll take your existing data and tell you which prospects are most likely to purchase from you, based upon the criteria you provide, like keywords and demographics. They will then scour the internet to see which of those prospects are consuming data by searching and having social media conversations that relate to your product or service.
- Other companies will do the same thing without using your data. They’ll provide you with contacts that are consuming data by having social media conversations and searching for your type of product or service.
- AI can be used to predict turnover in your customer base. Provide your AI vendor with your current and past customers, and they’ll tell you who is ripe for picking by your competition.
Does AI have to be integrated into your CRM today? No, absolutely not. Yet, CRM is not magic — it’s science, and it’s here today.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
With better customer knowledge comes the potential to improve customer satisfaction substantially. AI and CRM systems gather and segment customer data to help businesses strategize for more effective customer retention and lead generation practices.
AI and CRM have also made progress in tracking customer behaviors and evolving customer preferences. With AI and your CRM system, you can more easily and efficiently keep tabs on your customer base. In turn, you can determine how to meet your customers’ needs best and improve your overall customer service.
Image recognition and sentiment analysis in AI has evolved — and can benefit your CRM system. It gives you a real-time look into a customer’s satisfaction, and you can use this data to develop action plans for improvement. This is especially useful in a world with more virtual interactions that do not include facial expressions and body language.
One of the most significant benefits of AI and CRM is streamlining processes and reducing busywork — often manual tasks that can be eliminated through automation. When AI takes over the simplistic jobs, it gives employees more time to focus on larger projects that will benefit company processes.
AI technology can automate processes such as customer data gathering, segmentation, email automation and even virtual assistant work. With a CRM system that’s integrated with AI, you can use voice commands to perform basic tasks for improved efficiency. For example, you can ask your virtual assistant to:
- Tell you the top five persons that require follow up
- Update your top five opportunities on your sales forecast
- Email your updated sales forecast to your manager
- Add a prospect to a specific nurturing campaign
- Send you a text and/or email reminder the day before your monthly report is due
The more you automate, the easier it will be for your sales team to engage with customers on a more personal level.
Improve Virtual Assistance
Virtual assistance has become a standard practice in most customer service departments over the past decade. These tools help serve the basic customer service needs without taking time away from employees’ more complex tasks. Virtual assistance resources — including AI tools like chatbots, automated answering machine menus and more — help businesses support customer needs more efficiently.
AI continues to improve virtual customer assistance with chatbots. These bots can intelligently determine customer needs and help maintain customer relationships through strategic marketing practices, such as automated emails and social media messaging.
AI Integration Challenges
While AI has proven itself to be here for the long run, some businesses remain skeptical of AI’s relevance in customer service and if AI will replace employee resources. In fact, implementing AI technology and CRM systems enhances — not eliminates — the need for customer service and sales-oriented jobs. AI is designed to relieve employees of mundane, routine tasks and enables them to focus on more important projects. It complements, rather than replaces, the skillsets of humans and leads to overall higher productivity and efficiency.
Contact LeadMaster to Learn More About AI and CRM
If you want to learn more about the benefits of integrating AI tools into your CRM system, our friendly team is ready to answer any questions. Get in touch with the experts at LeadMaster today!