• March 1, 2023
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Latest Technology Trends Show CRM's Versatility

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With a 30-second ad during Super Bowl LVII last month costing between $6 million and $7 million, companies that bought slots during the big game were obviously looking for cost-effectiveness and anticipated ROI.

But while most of the commercials this year weren’t all that memorable, the one thing that caught my attention was the number of ads that featured QR codes. It’s a trend that started in 2021, then picked up a little more steam in 2022.

This year, whether it was Fox promoting its new show Animal Control, or companies selling everything from avocados to eye exams to light beer, I couldn’t help but notice the number of ads this year featuring QR codes. But was the strategy successful? Were any of the 100 million people around the world watching the game actually scanning the codes? Apparently so. The commercial for a Fox Sports promotion inviting viewers to compete for $1 million of Terry Bradshaw’s money was a big hit, but the back-end technology, apparently, not so much. Lots of people were locked out of the competition by what was being called “server issues.” It prompted many to go to social media calling out the network, noting that if you are going to promote an app, the app should work.

The same standard applies to marketing’s latest craze, the metaverse, as we highlight in this month’s cover story, “Marketing’s New Reality: The Metaverse.” While the metaverse holds great promise—in fact, some experts predict that by 2027 as many as 70 percent of all companies will have a presence there—companies will only succeed in the metaverse if they have the right technology, bandwidth, and staff to sustain it. For customers, staring at the spinning pinwheel of death while a virtual world encounter with a brand is slow to load or lags will also be the death of the experience.

The metaverse will only work for marketing if it works for everyone, which is going to be a challenge for years to come. That’s why companies are urged in the strongest sense possible throughout the feature to do their homework and fully understand the metaverse before jumping into it.

Then, once customers are browsing your products in your virtual- or mixed-reality environments, it’s important for them to be able to buy the products without jumping through too many hoops. That’s where our second feature, “The CRM and E-Commerce Convergence Begins,” can help. The article gives sound advice for tying online sales platforms with back-end CRM systems to enable much deeper personalization, more informed product recommendations, quicker product turn-around, and even faster compensation for the sales reps who closed the deal.

But the CRM technology convergence doesn’t end there. As we point out in our third feature, “Interaction Analytics Helps Improve Coaching/Training,” traditional speech and text analytics that have been staples in the contact center for years are now being applied to other areas of CRM, including the hiring, onboarding, and training not just of agents but also sales and marketing personnel. This convergence is enabling data-driven guidance to help frontline employees provide better experiences for customers, no matter where they encounter the company.

As you read through our March issue, the one thing that should stand out is the fact that CRM systems are being integrated with all the latest technology crazes, feeding critical customer data into virtual, online, and real-world channels of customer and employee interaction.

CRM technology vendors have made a habit of doing that throughout history—starting with email and then moving to the web, mobile, social media, SMS, longer-form MMS, video, chat, and so on.

These latest channels, though, are by far the most technologically advanced, the most demanding, and the most challenging to date. The rewards for being on them can be great, but so can the consequences for getting it wrong. So before venturing into areas like the metaverse, e-commerce, or even QR codes, make sure that your people, processes, and technologies are up to the task. After all, as Fox found out during the Super Bowl, if you’re going to promote an app, the app should work.

Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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