Organisations in New Zealand, and across the world, are moving from tactical, transactional, siloed, and fragmented approaches to coherent, holistic, and strategic ones.
So much so that businesses that succeed with customer relationship management (CRM) recognise that value must first be delivered to customers before there is any hope of developing an enduring and symbiotic customer relationship.
Subsequently, this leads to high lifetime value and lower costs to attract new customers, according to Jeremy Cox, principal analyst in Ovum’s Customer Engagement practice.
"Underpinning successful CRM is strategy that is informed by deep insights into the customer and all the forces shaping their expectations, behaviours, wants, and needs," he says.
"Simply bolting on CRM software can only lead to disappointment. The objectives are different in the public and not-for-profit sectors, but the same fundamental principles apply."
Cox believes successful organisations develop a coherent underlying sense of purpose that has the customer at its heart.
"This spans and impacts the entire organisation, creating and delivering value to customers in order to earn their continued support," he explains.
"Only in this way can organisations become truly customer-adaptive, which means being able to sense, respond, and adapt at the right speed to remain persistently relevant to their customers in an era of accelerating change and market volatility."
As the rapidly changing business landscape increasingly impacts ICT strategy and investment, Cox suggests that industry ICT suppliers must understand enterprises’ needs at the country and industry levels to ensure that their product, marketing, and sales strategies are aligned to customer requirements.
Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights program, based on interviews with approximately 6,500 senior IT executives, outlines this in further detail.
"More than 60% of respondents to Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights survey expect to see investment in customer-focused IT grow in the next year," Cox reports.
"This is up by almost 20% from 2014. In addition, the number of respondents anticipating an increase of more than 6% has more than doubled, from 7% in 2014 to 18% in 2015.
The top CRM trends to watch in 2015 will include the following:
* Real-time decisioning and predictive sensing capabilities will generate relevant and personalized customer interaction.
* Increases in cloud-based industry-specific objects, workflows, and best practices will make cloud-based CRM more attractive.
*An explosion of apps, IoT, and wearable devices will form part of the new customer engagement mix.
“To be successful with CRM, firms need a genuine customer-centred philosophy and values that drive the right behaviours," Cox concludes.
"The individual with the ultimate responsibility for creating the right conditions for this to happen is the CEO, not the VP of marketing, sales, or service.’’