In celebration of the upcoming new year, today we’re going to look far ahead into the future of Customer Relationship Management software.
Why pick 50 years into the future to talk about CRM?
Well, if you haven’t been paying attention, we are at the cusp of some game-changing developments in technology with the maturation of artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, and quantum computing in approximately 15 years.
If you follow Gartner research, the company produces a thing called the hype cycle for emerging technologies. It’s updated yearly, and all three technologies are on the chart. Let’s take a look at it for 2017.
The three elements of technology discussed are shown as an innovation trigger that will mature in about 15 years. They call this chart a hype cycle for a reason. It could take longer to become mature and be effective. Thus, we give it a bit of a cushion to realize its potential.
I also flagged two other innovation triggers that have a bearing on what we might see in 50 years. We are talking about the development of neuromorphic hardware and human augmentation. The importance of that centers around a concept called “singularity.”
We’ll touch on that in a little bit, but first, let’s come back to earth and talk about CRM now, the emerging technology that will be in use in the next five to ten years, and how that will change the nature of CRM software that has begun to get a lot of attention.
CRM is software that a company uses to gather data about their customers as interactions occur. The key word being data. Marketing has become a data-intensive business. And customer-centric marketing has become what is needed today to make your business grow through customer retention.
A robust CRM provides that data by capturing the details of every interaction that a customer has with the company. The system craves more and more data as the marketing team builds a customer “buying journey” for your existing customers.
You learn when they get online, where they go, what social media sites they use, what their mood is, what kind of behaviors they exhibit, where they shop, what they buy—the list is endless.
All of that data is analyzed for insights in what to expect from your customers as a whole so you can offer them good deals to get them to buy more and eventually reach the lifetime value (LTV) from that customer that keeps your revenue increasing.
All of those elements of information are known as Customer Intelligence, and your ability to use that data effectively leads to customer loyalty and advocacy. If you had to list the points of value a well-maintained CRM provides, it would go something like this:
- A CRM keeps you one step ahead of the customer so that your planning is on target.
- The automated nature of the data gathering ensures you log everything and nothing slips through the cracks.
- You're mobile when they are mobile. You are on social media when they’re on social media.
- Your reports are more accurate and smarter, allowing you to do advanced planning.
- It provides a one-stop shop for information about any client.
- It’s a centralized hub for all contact information.
- A CRM tracks the performance of your KPIs if you analyze the collected data.
- It helps you build and segment your mailing lists.
Current Emerging Trends in CRM and CRM Technology
Recall what we just talked about a few paragraphs earlier. AI, Deep Learning and quantum computing are the more distant future, but you will see a movement to implement the early forms of that technology such as weak AI algorithms and techniques as well as innovate use of existing binary computer power.
Let’s look at some of that new tech already on the horizon.
- Social CRM will become more sophisticated as the ability to track the customer social media tendencies will expand to all social media platforms that they frequent from within your CRM tool. The increased use of chatbots (weak AI tech) and specialized social media personas will enable 24/7 responses more quickly in an expanded global response environment. Thus, no matter where you are, you will be engaged in real time.
- Mobile CRM will be improved to provide anytime, anywhere data access under more secure tech to protect your privacy and data. You will be able to access all the functionality of your CRM to update leads and check your dashboards. Your CRM tool will deliver personalized data and offers for any customer you might be engaged with at the time. The customer experience will be significantly enhanced.
- The process of how to keep your data current will shift away from a manual data entry function to an automated process using CDP tools. This had been one of the primary drawbacks for even adopting CRM in the first place. Direct data absorption is a near-term reality with robust new APIs that permit valued integrations with data insights derived from AI algorithm-driven data processing.
- Pre-cursor technologies to AI such as augmented and virtual (AR/VR) technology will deliver immersive tech such as hologram capability to your smartphone and other computing devices. Imagine “seeing” your customer as an out of life experience during a call with them while you’re on a conference floor.
We are only scratching the surface of what CRM 2068 might look like. And that provides a nice segue into the last thing we need to talk about since we are touting the technology of 50 years from now.
That last thing is the concept of technological singularity.
The concept is hypothetical and applies to all technology, but since we are talking about CRM here, let’s keep our minds focused on that. The development of artificial superintelligence will fuel runaway technological growth. Quantum computing is the brain of AI that will enable ASI.
I flagged two technologies on the Gartner Hype Cycle earlier with red arrows. They were neuromorphic hardware and human augmentation. Neuro suggests brain-related activities and devices and humans have a brain.
Let’s transcend today’s reality and think in different ways. The mind is one of the most unique and infinitely capable computers even far beyond what quantum computers will be able to do in 50 years.
What if we created a technological singularity by connecting ASI to the human brain that tapped the unused portions of our brain and integrated it with the known parts of our brain that do get used augmented by the knowledge available from the quantum computer brain representing all knowledge in the universe?
Mind boggling isn’t it?
Using our emerging holographic trend as a case in point, you wouldn’t need a smartphone or the software to create the holograph. The mind would merely create the life-like image and transmit that image to the eye.
This journey into the future of CRM has been partially real and partially futuristic.
However, the common theme of the same technology represented at different points in time provides a feasible vision of how this is all going to come together.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology of today waiting for the hardware to catch up to it so its full capacity can be realized. Quantum computing exists in the lab today and is used for developmental experiments. However, the physics of quantum mechanics that underlies its feasibility is well known and accepted. The theory will be turned into reality within the 50-year premise of this article.
Remember, quantum computers will be the brain that unleashes AI in its full glory.