Four Customer Relationship Management Trends to Watch in 2021

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The very unusual circumstances of the year 2020 have resulted in major shifts in business practices, as well as significantly accelerated trends. Business owners have ably demonstrated their resilient approach to adapting to change, and not all changes are seen as negative. What’s going on in the realm of contact data management software as we make our way through 2021?

It became very clear that customers are going online in even greater numbers, and they quickly became accustomed to making transactions in the digital realm. It also became clear that to realize success, entrepreneurs had to adapt just as quickly. In order to effectively serve the digital customer a highly effective customer contact software is required. CRM, or Client Relationship Management software, is now an essential tool for every operation’s efficient management of its contact data.

Trend #1 – All-in-one solutions

Software that provides useful insights to customer and client behaviour is invaluable. The best CRM tools for small business and nonprofits are affordable as well as easy for staff to learn and manage. But that doesn’t mean that a simple contact data management software lacks features. Many, such as Contact Boss’s contact management software, offer supplementary features such as event management and auto-reminders. As our society begins to open up, your organization may be planning actual face-to-face or hybrid events – Contact Boss has a built-in feature that supports creation, management and follow-up for any type of event, ensuring related interactions are fully integrated with your contact database. This CRM trend to combine features makes day-to-day business operations much more streamlined. More and more, users of contact database software are looking for tools that will integrate customer service tools, email software, analytics, event management and so on. What may previously have been seen as add-ons to business contact software are swiftly becoming expected built-in features.

Trend #2 – CRM Going Mobile

Not surprisingly business owners soon noticed that their staff and their customers were no longer stationed behind a desktop or laptop. Today, as often as not, transactions are completed, deals done, and connections made – all while on the road, out office, or away from the desk. The best contact database systems for small businesses are all moving to mobile, including Contact Boss which recently released mobile apps for both iOS and Android subscribers. 

The more we worked and shopped from home, effective mobile solutions became more and more necessary. The best online contact database software tools are storing data in the cloud, allowing for instant synchronous data updates and the ability to transition between online and offline environments without loss of accuracy. A high degree of security will also be a requirement for effective cloud-based CRM software on mobile devices.

Trend #3 – Meet your customer on their terms

We’re sure you’ve noticed that communicating with friends, family and colleagues is no longer as simple as calling them up or shooting off a quick email. Now you have to remember if Aunt Joan prefers Facebook messenger; that your fellow staffer will only respond to texts; and which of four email addresses your high school chum will respond to. To really communicate with customers and contacts, businesspeople are finding that identifying preferred communication channels for customers can actually improve the interaction overall, sometimes with measurable results in terms of sales or complaint resolution. Maybe it’s time to seriously consider how to integrate social media and third-party communications channels into your CRM toolbox.

While it’s true that you are working with a complex software tool to keep track of customers in a streamlined way, but, today it is extremely important to think of each unit of data as a real person with preferences, specific needs and interests. Your customer information database is rich with details about your clients and customers, so don’t make the mistake of ignoring this treasure trove. Properly used, client tracking software will provide much more value than a glorified digital address book.

If the records show that a third of your customers are active on social media, be sure that you have the tools to reach out and communicate via those channels. If your client relationship software is recording feedback coming in via text messaging, be sure you have developed the capability to respond in the same way. CRM software that is able to integrate Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms will be an advantage for business managers and customer service reps looking for the best possible means to handle contact data efficiently.

Trend #4 – Automate!

Looking after thousands – or more – of records, notes and details in your contact manager software database can certainly be daunting, but the best online client management systems offer more and more tools to help automate tedious tasks. Contact Boss, for example, includes an auto-reminder feature that will allow managers to set up regular notifications to internal staff or themselves, ensuring that follow-ups are completed and responsibilities are met.

Chatbots are another auto-tool that can help filter queries and handle interactions efficiently. Using the power of the data efficiently leads to time freed up to better service contacts and customers in a much more personalized way, if required.

Social change can lead to improved ways of doing business

Certainly, the business world changed along with everything else over the past 18 months, but the adaptations and adjustments will almost certainly result in better use of digital contact management solutions overall. Sales, marketing and communications teams will find that they have improved their relationships with their customers – simply by being better informed and having access to more efficient online contact database software.

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About Author

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A consummate communicator, Carol Horne has undertaken a variety of content creation projects over the past few decades. She supplied, assigned and edited copy for the majority of Tourism PEI’s consumer content. She led the marketing team at Confederation Centre where she developed marketing and communications strategies to enhance awareness and generate revenue for the theatre, gallery, restaurant and gift shop. In her role as Chief Marketing Officer she oversaw the development and execution of marketing, graphic design, social media, communications and PR, sales, development and guest services activity plans. As manager of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s online media centre and the US consumer E-Newsletter she was in charge of creating and curating Canada’s tourism promotion content.

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