8 min read

According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to impact many areas of customer relationship management (CRM). AI as an armor will ease out mundane tasks for the CRM teams, which implies they will be able to address more customer queries through an automated approach. An AI-based expert CRM offers highly predictive and intuitive ways to customer problems, thus grabbing maximum customer attention. With AI, CRM platforms within different departments such as sales, finance, marketing etc. do not limit themselves to getting service feedback from their customers. But they can also gain information based on the data that customers generate online i.e the social media or IoT devices.

With such massive amount of data hailing from various channels, it becomes a bit tricky for organizations to keep a track of its customers. Not only this, but to extract detailed insights from huge amount of data becomes all the more difficult. And here is the gap where, organizations feel the need to bring in an AI-based optimized approach for their CRM platform. The AI-enabled platform can assist CRM teams to gain insights from the large aggregation of customer data, while also paving a way for seamless customer interactions. Organizations can not only provide customers with helpful suggestions, but also recommend products to boost their business profitability. AI-infused CRM platforms can take over straightforward tasks such as client feedback, that otherwise is time consuming. It allows businesses to focus on customers that provide higher business value, which might have got neglected previously. It also acts as a guide for executive level employees via a virtual assistant, allowing them to tackle customer queries without any assistance from senior executives.

AI techniques such as Natural language processing(NLP) and predictive analytics are used within the CRM domain, to gain intelligent insights in order to enhance human decision making. NLP interprets incoming emails, categorizes them on the basis of intent, and automatically drafts responses by identifying the priority level. Predictive Analytics helps in detecting the optimal time for solving customer queries, and the mode of communication that will best fit to engage with the customer. With such functionalities, a smarter move towards digitizing organizational solutions can be achieved  reaping huge profits for organizations who wish to leverage it.

How AI is transforming CRM

Businesses aim to satisfy customers who utilize their services. This is because, keeping a customer happy can lead to further incrementation in revenue generation. Organizations can achieve this rapidly with the help of AI.

Salesforce, the market leader in the CRM space, integrated an AI assistant which is popularly known as Einstein. Einstein makes CRM an easy-to-use platform by simply allowing customers to import their data on Salesforce and automatically provides ready-to-crunch data driven insights across different channels. Other organizations such as SAP and Oracle are implementing AI-based technologies for their CRM platforms to provide an improvised customer experience.

Let’s explore how AI benefits within an organization:

  1. Steering Sales

With AI, the sales team can shift their focus from the mundane administrative tasks and get to know their customers better. Sales CRM team leverages novel scoring techniques, which help in prioritizing quality leads, thus generating maximum revenue for the organization.

Sales leaders, with help of AI can work towards improving sales productivity. After analyzing company’s historical data and employee activities, the AI-fused CRM software can present a performance report of the top sales representatives. Such a feature helps sales leaders to strategize what the bottom line representatives should learn from the top representatives to drive conversations with their customers that show a likelihood for sales generation.

People.ai, a sales management platform, utilize AI to deliver performance analytics, personalized coaching, and provide reviews for their sales pipeline. This can assist sales leaders get a complete view of sales activities going on within their organizations.

  1. Marketing it better

To trigger a customer sale requires extensive push marketing strategies.With Artificial Intelligence enabled marketing, customers are driven into a predictive journey, which ensures each journey to end up into a sale or a subscription. Both ways it is a win-win situation for the organizations. Predictive scoring can intelligently determine the likelihood of a customer to subscribe to a newsletter or trigger a purchase. AI can also analyze images across various social media sources such as Pinterest, Facebook, and can provide suggestions for visuals of an upcoming advertising campaign. Also, by carrying out sentiment analysis on product reviews and customer feedback, the marketing team can take into account, user’s sentiment about a particular brand or product. This helps brands to announce discount offers in case of a decreased sale, or increase the production of a product in demand.

Marketo, a marketing automation platform includes a software which aids different CRM platforms to gain rich behavioral insights of their customers and to drive business strategies.

  1. 24*7 customer support

Whenever a customer query arises within a CRM, AI anticipates the likely issues and resolves them before it results into a problem. Different customer cases are classified and directed to the right service agent to address with the help of predictive analytics techniques. Also, NLP-based digital assistants known as chatbots are used to analyze the written content within e-mails. A chatbot efficiently responds to customer e-mails; in most rare cases, it directs the e-mail to a service agent. Chatbots can even notify a customer about an early-bird offer to purchase a product, which they are likely to buy. It can also issue meetings and notify the same by scheduling reminders­‑given the era of push notifications and smart wearables. Hence, with AI into CRM, organizations can not only offer customers better services but also provide 24*7 support.

Agent.ai, an AI-based customer service platform, allows organizations to provide a 24*7*365 customer support including holidays, weekends, and non-staffed hours.

  1. Application development no more a developer’s play

Building an application has become an important milestone to achieve for any organization. If the application has a seamless and user-friendly interface, it is favoured by many customers and thus, the organization gets more customer traction. Building an application was considered as ‘a developers job only’ as it involves coding. However, due to the rise in platforms that help build an application with lesser coding or in fact no-coding, any non-coder can easily develop an application. CRM platforms helps businesses to build applications, which provides insight driven predictions and recommendation solutions to their customers. Salesforce assures their customers that each application built on their platform includes intelligent data modeling, tracking, and monitoring. Business users, data scientists, or any non-developer, can now build applications without learning to code. This helps them to create prediction-based applications their way; without the IT hassle.

Challenges & Limitations

AI implementations are becoming common with an increased number of organizations adopting it both on a small and a large scale. Many businesses are moving towards a smart customer management by infusing AI within their organizations. AI undoubtedly brings in an ease of work, but there are challenges that the CRM platform can face, which if unaddressed may cause revenue declination for businesses. Below are the challenges which organizations might face while setting up AI in their CRM platform:

  1. Outdated data: Organizations collect a huge amount of data during various business activities to drive meaningful insights about sales, customer preferences, etc. This data is a treasure trove for the marketing team, to plan strategies in order to attract more new customers and retain the existing ones. On the contrary, if the data provided is not updated,  CRM teams may find it difficult to understand the current customer relationship status. To avoid this, a comprehensive data cleanup project is essential to maintain better quality of data.
  1. Partially automated: AI creates an optimized environment  for the CRM with the use of  predictive analytics and natural language processing for better customer engagement. This eases out the mundane elements for the CRM team, and they can focus on other strategic outcomes. This does not imply that AI is completely replacing humans. Instead, a human touch is required to monitor if the solutions given by the AI benefits the customer and how they can tweak it to a much more smarter AI.
  2. Intricacies of language: An AI is trained on data which includes various set of phrases and questions, and also the desired output that it should give. If the query input by the customer is not phrased in a correct manner, the AI is unable to provide them with correct solutions. Hence, customers have to take precautions while asking their queries and phrase it in the correct manner, else the machine would not understand what the customer aims to ask.

Infusing AI into CRM has multiple benefits, but the three most important ones include predictive scoring, forecasting, and recommendations. These benefits empower CRM to outsmart its traditional counterpart by helping organizations to serve its customers with state-of-the-art results. Customers appreciate when their query is addressed in lesser time,leaving a positive remark on the organization. Additionally we have digital assistants to assist firms in solving customer query quickly.


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