Good morning (or afternoon, if that’s when you’re reading this). It’s a new week and time to dive into a new set of ideas and theories surrounding our lives in Social CRM. Today’s post is going to be a little bit different than some of the others, though. Instead of diving into a full topic, I’m going to introduce a series that we’ll be starting today that will run for the next few weeks.
I know we’re nearing the end of February, but for all accounts and purposes (especially fiscally for some companies), 2012 is just getting under way and it’s important that we explore some of the trends that I feel are going to be important players in CRM, specifically Social CRM, this year and beyond.
The simple reason that this is going to be a two week series is that when I sat down to write this as a single post, we were getting close to 2,000 words and still not touching everything I wanted and I figured a post that long might make your eyes bleed a little, so I broke it up into a series and we’ll be exploring each trend in more details in the coming weeks.
So, in the form of a good introductory post, let’s unveil and define the trends we’ll be looking at over the next 2 and a half weeks.
1) Gamification – Anyone who knows me knows I’m a giant advocate for the increased use of game mechanics and gamification in the workplace. Not only is it great for understanding and driving consumer motivations, there are great applications that can be made internally to enhance workforce productivity, which in turn creates more satisfied customers. Areas like sales, onboarding, strategy, even accounts payable have seen increased positivity from gamified metrics so far. Social CRM is all about creating collaborative experiences for customers and nothing I’ve seen so far can compete with how well applied game theories do that. Alongside the growth in social network use, gamification will be a trend to keep an eye on in 2012.
2) Customer Experience Begins Core Aspect of sCRM – Since it’s initial inception, standard CRM has been wholly driven by the left brains of companies all over the world. We focused on the systems and technologies that could bring about the results and ROIs that we intended. It’s true that the customer had a voice and was taken into consideration, but they were simply another cog in the machine, another element in the chart, and another variable in the equation. This year will bring with it a lot of changes, but one shift will be the true purpose of Social CRMs starting to be focused around driving and understanding the customer experience more than anything else.
3) Customer Insight Joins More of the sCRM Conversation – Paul Greenberg calls this trend “Insight Solutions” and I can’t think of a better way to put it. We’re in the business of crafting customer experiences, so customer insights on how those experiences should be crafted is going to be an integral part of that. 2012 will see a rise in technology and systems put in place to gather, analyze and understand those insights to better steer our courses of action. Paul put it this way:
Analytics as a whole is becoming fundamental to all business strategy. 2012 brings more of that than ever and the rise of a new category customer-focused solution that provides a combination the surfacing of dynamic information and the analysis of that behavior as dynamically as it is surfaced.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
4) Mobile sCRM – The mobile world is exploding. With almost everyone having smartphones, tablets, Nooks, Kindles and anything else under the sun that allows them to stay connected on the go, understanding your customers’ need to be mobile and connected will be all the more important to your Social CRM strategy and technology. We’ll be adding the wider use of Near-Field Communications (NFC) to the prevalence of QR Codes and it appears even Google Wallet might make it out of the garage this year. Are you ready? Is your sCRM strategy?
5) Life in the Cloud – You almost can’t see a Microsoft commercial without hearing about their Cloud. It’s impossible to read through the pages of a Wired magazine without seeing three or four different services. Dropbox, SugarSync, Carbonite and others are exploding on the app lists and mobile people and companies are looking for mobile ways to store their stuff, especially those that use tablets. Don’t even get me started on Amazon’s cloud base. CRM cannot divide itself from some technological components and the cloud is definitely growing as a preferred distributing, saving and sharing base for a lot of people. You need to keep your eyes on it in 2012.
And We Begin…
Okay, I know that was a long introduction, but we’ll be exploring each one of these trends more in posts during the coming weeks.
If you want to be the best, you have to prepare like the best and we’re going to be preparing together. You wouldn’t want to jump right into 2012 acting and partying like it was 2011 would you?
You customers wouldn’t.
Coming up on Thursday: We’ll be taking a deeper look at how gamification truly drives engagement and why that’s important when thinking about Social CRM.
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