With the rapid development of technology and constant social and economic disruptions, many companies have faced customer relationship management crises. We repeatedly reported about it last year.  

An image of Matthias Göhler.

A concerning report’s findings told that 43% of professionals found their CRM software too complex, unintuitive, and not user-friendly. Has this opinion changed? Were companies able to equip marketers with better systems and some emerging sales skills essential for the new generation of conversational CRM?  

To find out, we talked to Matthias Göhler, Customer Experience Leader – Chief Technology Officer at Zendesk. Matthias Göhler joined Zendesk in October 2021. Matthias leads the development of Zendesk´s vision for innovation in customer experience based on the needs of EMEA customers. 

According to Gartner estimates, the global CRM market will grow at a 13.7% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) through 2022. How can companies and their sales teams’ skillsets ensure they stay in step with these fluid/undecisive elements?  

Agility is key. CX teams need to be able to pivot their strategies at any moment. Open platforms, automation tools, customer understanding are all essential for staying ahead, anticipating problems and foreseeing opportunities  

a CRM software building a single view of the customers

With the right CRM software, companies can quickly access customer data, identify trends, predict changes and understand how their business can evolve. They will be able to keep up with the pace of both customer expectations and new technologies. 

Having the right information is the main asset of any sales team. Therefore, building a single view of their customer should be the business imperative. This will empower the precision and predictive analytics that these systems are capable of.  

What CRM features do marketers recognize as the most efficient? 

Personalisation is a core CRM feature for marketers. 83% of UK customers were likely to spend more with companies that can offer desired personalisation and streamlined experiences.

With the power of the advanced process of deriving insights from customer data to create added value, it is easier than ever to offer a tailored experience. This is only possible through advanced CRM capabilities with data and trend analysis which enable this holistic, sometimes predictive, view of the customer.  

Is there a difference in how Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies apply CRM? 

Well, yes and no. In many ways, B2B companies should be approaching their customer experience the same way that B2C companies do. In both B2B and B2C customer service, you have a customer using your products and services that you want to impress and whose expectations you need to meet.

At the end of the day, a customer is exposed to great experiences in their everyday lives – meaning their expectations are no different for B2B service. In fact, 90% of B2B leaders see providing great customer experience as key to achieving success.  

However, the B2B relationship can be a little more complex. Enquiries about business-critical products and services have a different domino effect and urgency than many consumer requests, like asking for a refund or processing a return. When looking at sales, B2B companies must secure buy-in from whole teams rather than an individual shopper.  

What are some of the pitfalls and challenges companies struggle with when it comes to conversational CRM implementation, and how to overcome these? 

chatbot conversational CRM

It’s no surprise that customers want a conversational service experience that feels natural and fluid. They want the agent to come to an interaction knowing who they are, and they don’t want to have to repeat themselves or get stuck in a conversation loop with a chatbot. Unfortunately, this is not always possible when AI and automation are involved.  

Many customers have had problems and ended up frustrated when interacting with chatbots. People don’t like to repeat themselves and so it’s important that processes with automation are designed and trained to avoid these issues.  

If a chatbot is well set-up, it can recognise repeat customers, welcome them back and pick up their conversation from where it last left off. Then, it can collect information, propose simple solutions or use intelligent routing to pass the information to a human agent. All these interactions are connected and continuous – that’s what makes it a truly conversational experience.  

Marketers constantly need to build strategies to drive sales and profits. What is the number one sales metric in 2022, and how CRM can help brands achieve it? 

The biggest sales metric will continue to be revenue. But an important question to ask is where that revenue is coming from.  

  • Are you able to tap into the customer insights of your customer service team to start using it as a digital sales hub? 
  •  Does your sales team have the information to better upsell and make recommendations to existing customers?  
  • Are you growing the customer lifetime value through loyalty, rather than relying on always bringing in new customers (which is more expensive)?  

This is where the intersection of sales and service becomes even more important to reach your revenue goals.  

How will conversational AI and CRM develop in the future?  

More than 60% of customers expect that most of their future service interactions with companies will be automated. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), bots are now able to understand customers as they would usually speak.

They can pick out key words and phrases which can create an accurate assessment of what they are being asked. Taking in and understanding customer types as well as common trends and behaviours, AI could even predict an answer before the customer asks the question.  

Companies will continue investing in conversational AI and customer intelligence. This means chatbots will become even more conversational and seamless in their customer interactions. This will help companies to scale their service operations in a more effective way.  

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