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Customer relationship management: Now’s the time to build lifelong connections

by | Jul 27, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

In the spotlight: Anthony Smith, CEO, Insightly

Customer relationship management (CRM) is entering a new era—with an increasing number of purchasing alternatives and lower-than-ever switching costs, customers will abandon businesses in an instant if they fail to meet their heightened expectations for service and delivery.

It costs eight times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, yet legacy CRMs are designed around tracking leads and forecasting deals, not growing customer relationships or bringing their projects to completion.

“Customer expectations have changed dramatically in recent years,” says Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of Insightly. “They want deeper relationships with businesses, ones that go far beyond the purchase transaction. Legacy CRM systems are simply not equipped for this new world because they are designed to automate the internal workings of sales, service and marketing departments, not for building relationships with customers.”

The future of CRM lies in systems that extend well beyond the confines of traditional CRM to help businesses build better relationships across every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle. CRM tools using social data, communication frequency, omnichannel engagement and customer analytics can generate relationships scores for accounts and individual contacts, and graph their improvement or decline over time.

Customer experience is the new competitive battleground

Customers can choose from a sea of options in almost every product and service category. Every customer interaction matters because each one provides a chance to build a better relationship with that customer. The rewards are substantial for brands that harness these interactions to create adaptive personalized journeys that delight customers at every stage in their lifecycle.

  • According to Forrester Research, customer experience leaders enjoy 5.1x revenue growth compared to laggards; and customers who receive excellent experiences will pay 4.5x higher price premiums than those with poor ones
  • According to a 2016 Gartner survey, CEOs ranked the customer as the No. 2 priority on the strategic business priorities list, up from No. 4 in the previous year

Most firms—and CRM systems—fall short

According to Forrester, although 84 percent of firms aspire to become a customer experience leader, only one in five delivers good or great customer experience. Inadequate CRM and salesforce automation (SFA) systems are often to blame.

According to Forrester analyst, John Bruno: “Over the last two decades, SFA has actually done very little to help salespeople sell. Instead, the features and functionality of SFA solutions were designed around the needs of managers and executives. These tools allowed organizations to scale their businesses, but as buying behaviors changed, the solutions and strategies around them were slow to react.”

Relationship-centric CRM holds the key to unlocking lifetime customer value

Through 2020, businesses that deploy CRM technology in such a way that it reflects empathy toward the customer are three times more likely to fend off a digital disrupter, according to Gartner. Furthermore, “greater customer intimacy” was the top-cited business driver for the office of the CDO (62 percent) in Gartner’s recent Office of the Chief Data Officer study.

Today’s best brands focus on building loyalty and trust through every customer interaction. Insightly enables relationship-centric companies to harness that vast stream of data to customize and personalize each customer’s experience—building brand loyalty, trust and credibility in a fortuitous loop where every interaction deepens that customer relationship.

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith is the founder and CEO of Insightly.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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