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CRM is instrumental in the development of an Omnichannel. However, many businesses are incorrectly delegating tasks in their Omnichannel initiatives to the various CRM types. A true Omnichannel experience cannot be achieved without a clear understanding of different CRM dimensions and their specific roles and responsibilities.
There are three distinctive types of CRM: operational (e.g. Salesforce or Siebel), collaborative (e.g. Avaya) and Analytical (e.g. SAS). Operational CRM gathers transactional, long-persistence information, and is focused on running different processes like services, sales, and marketing. Collaborative CRM on the other hand, manages customers’ contacts and deals with transient contextual information from various channels and touchpoints. In many cases though, businesses assign customer contact management roles to process-oriented operational CRMs, resulting in suboptimal Omnichannel environments. Companies can achieve an optimal Omnichannel environment by properly integrating operational and collaborative CRM.
Businesses often make the mistake of believing that Omnichannel represents the end state that will, by itself, decrease customer effort, provide superb CX and deliver consequent financial returns to companies. The truth is that Omnichannel is only a building block, a step towards an environment that will truly ensure effortless, meaningful and memorable customer experiences.
After so many years focused on Omnichannel, it is clear that numerous related initiatives and investments are failing to meet expectations when it comes to reducing customer effort and improving CX. Companies seem to be experiencing “Omnichannel fatigue” and are disenchanted with its capabilities and results. Market research, such as from Forrester, finds that, despite all the investments in achieving Omnichannel, customer experience has not improved in recent years. It is lingering around at mostly mediocre levels, with excellent experiences being rare instead of the norm.
Companies must understand that Omnichannel is not enough to deliver superb CX. Integrating communication channels, touchpoints, customer data and business processes is necessary but will not by itself deliver superior CX. Something additional needs to be built on top of existing Omnichannel infrastructures to achieve the desired success.
A “channel-free” customer journey, or Multiexperience, is the key. Instead of focusing on channels, companies should work on bringing together all necessary experience enablers at every point of the customer journey. The very essence of superior CX is simply doing the right things for customers at every turn – and that’s it. This is what we mean by “Channel – Free” Multiexperience.
This is where analytical CRM steps in. With its predictive analytic capabilities, analytical CRM can use historical data to predict future outcomes. The result is an understanding of the specific wants and needs of any individual customer at a particular moment of their journey, accompanied by a proposal of the best action to take next. By allowing analytical CRM to orchestrate engagement via collaborative CRM, companies will be able to approach every customer in an individualised manner, optimising experience and improving customer loyalty. In this kind of engagement, everything is centred around interactions and experiences, while channels and touchpoints are in the background.
Analytical CRM receives information from different sources, but mainly from operational and collaborative CRMs. Knowledge and insights are of the utmost importance in achieving Multiexperience because today’s CX doesn’t depend on an environment’s features, but on its ability to collect data, process data and react upon data. Analytical CRMs must expand beyond their traditional information sources – fortunately, Communication Analytics solutions can help. These solutions hold great potential. Traditional data sources rarely contain as much information about customers’ needs, emotions, perceptions, and experiences as the conversations that customers are having with contact centre agents across various channels.
Don’t forget that even fully mastering the data means little if customers must expend a lot of effort connecting and interacting with your business. AI powered Conversational User Interfaces, synergy between Contact Centre and Unified Communication solutions, biometrics and Virtual Reality are becoming true game changers in reducing customer effort and improving CX.
Multiexperience also strongly relies on employees because they are crucial when it comes to relationships. Companies should work to change behaviours, attitudes, and organisational culture in their contact centres by correlating EX with CX and evolving from workforce optimisation to workforce engagement. This will ensure employees are empowered to become real brand ambassadors and valuable assets for success in our experience-driven economy.
By applying the Multiexperience concept on top of existing Omnichannel infrastructures, companies will get optimal environments that will reduce the effort their customers need to connect and interact. These environments will ensure superior and memorable CX and the desired returns in terms of sales, retention, and acquisition.