AI is transforming every industry in the world by providing novel tools and methods for businesses. And CRMs are no exception.
Artificial intelligence is on the rise. With a global market worth billions, the bustling industry of AI startups, and the technology being integrated into nearly 80% of all devices, there’s no question about AI’s relevance.
According to recent statistics, artificial intelligence can play a crucial role in business productivity. Novel solutions allow people to work efficiently with smart automation taking over the bulk of secondary, high-value tasks.
Over 40% of customers have faith that AI can bring significant improvements. Furthermore, businesses are reflecting that belief, with nearly half of advanced-level organisations implementing AI mobile strategies.
The new tech could give businesses an edge in the competitive environment. And that doesn’t refer to some distant future. AI advancements are already present and more widespread than many think.
For example, while only a third of consumers believe they are engaged in AI platforms, the reality is that 77% of them are using a service powered by artificial intelligence.
In everyday business, AI has already started to change how organisations function. But the technology is still evolving to become even more efficient. At the same time, companies that weren’t envisioned as AI-powered are shifting their perspective.
The bottom line is that many businesses and most customers are already using artificial intelligence in some form. Sometimes the users aren’t even aware of the tech.
As the AI industry moves forward, the number of users will likely expand. Even if you aren’t planning on implementing AI solutions in your business, the chances are that you’ll do so at some point.
Of course, the same goes for business tools.
Certain CRMs are already leveraging the power of AI. The increased efficiency and optimised solutions to common issues are slowly making CRMs with integrated artificial intelligence the best option.
These developments are changing the face of CRMs right now. The systems might go through significant transformations in the near future.
This article will discuss how AI will change CRMs in years to come and outline some of the changes taking place right now.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is a term that describes machine systems created to simulate human intelligence. In particular, the simulated processes include learning, reasoning, and self-correction.
In other words, an AI would be a computer system that can gather information and use it according to specific rules, as well as reach conclusions from the provided data.
However, there’s a difference between artificial intelligence as presented in science fiction and the type used in most modern businesses.
Generally speaking, AI is classified into two types: strong and weak AI.
When we think of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, the artificial intelligence imagined there is the ‘strong’ type. This would be a system with developed cognitive abilities at or near human levels.
On the other hand, the AI that we find in most devices and business tools is the so-called ‘weak’ AI. These systems are much narrower and more specialised. They can perform particular tasks with exceptional speed and precision but are far from autonomous in the broader sense.
‘Weak’ AI is especially interesting for business purposes and wide use. They range from various automation tools, through virtual assistants on smartphones, to machine learning and language processing software.
While we might classify them as ‘weak,’ these systems are such in name only. In fact, that type of AI is the driving force behind major market changes and the factor that will become increasingly more important in years to come.
How AI Is Changing CRM
Artificial intelligence started to change CRMs when the two technologies became integrated. While certain shifts are already in place, more will undoubtedly follow.
Let’s look at some of the most significant areas of CRM that AI is changing right now or will change in the near future.
1. Improved Customer Acquisition Processes
CRMs already excel at data gathering. The information these systems capture drives customer acquisition, allowing the CRM to gather more data and onboard new clients at the same time.
In the past decade, social media has played a vital role in data collection. Specifically, social platforms have proven a valuable source of customer behaviour data.
CRMs are capable of compiling and analysing that data. The results can be used for optimal customer engagement, leading, in turn, to business growth.
When it comes to predicting behaviours, AI is an invaluable tool. The advanced analysis allows businesses to build customised strategies and hyper-targeted campaigns. Leveraging these solutions can help organisations build up their brand image, generate leads, and boost their performance and growth.
2. The Ability to Provide Automated Personal Assistants for Every Customer
In terms of personalisation, AI can do much more than provide client-specific data analysis. The technology, paired with CRM, can function as an artificial service agent.
AI systems are able to provide customer support and service clients around the clock. It can do that in the form of a virtual personal assistant that automates most customer interactions.
For example, customers can use their AI assistant to schedule a service, ask questions, and receive immediate support. In addition, AI can handle follow-up actions and similar tasks that would otherwise require regular human engagement.
On a different business level, artificial intelligence can capture team or board meetings and discussions. Then, based on the transcripts, AI can create notes and handle meeting calendars.
When an AI-powered CRM receives input of demographic, transactional, behavioural, and other user data, it can learn from the available information. The system can produce significant insight based on the data while avoiding the common pitfalls of human error.
3. Advancing Data Mining Processes
While CRMs are capable of gathering vast amounts of data, AI integration has brought that functionality to another level altogether.
Artificial intelligence can parse data and discover trends within it. Furthermore, it can perform those actions incredibly fast. The result is a predictive model of everything from lead generation to customer behaviour and contact.
The difference between a ‘raw’ CRM and an AI-powered one in this regard is that CRMs, on their own, don’t add context to the data. To put it differently, artificial intelligence can not only collect information but also make sense of it.
The business implications of using this technology are massive.
Artificial intelligence can determine the current trends in the market and even determine upcoming trends. Of course, this functionality can be invaluable across all industries. Using AI properly for trend determination can inform business strategies and significantly improve interaction with customers.
4. Enhanced Ability to Analyse Customer Sentiments
Customer trust is crucial in sales. Every salesperson strives to build rapport and create a positive relationship with customers, and not without good reason. Nearly 80% of customers who deal with sales representatives cite trust as a crucial aspect that influences their buying decisions.
However, the unfortunate truth is that, at the same time, only 3% of customers have that trust in sales representatives. And the business of salespeople around the world is made harder with the growth of online sales.
Today, most interactions with customers happen in an online environment. The issue is that sales reps can’t communicate or pick up sentiments traditionally conveyed by facial expressions or body language.
The virtual market is a significant obstacle to trust-building. Luckily, another digital technology provides a solution.
Displaying abilities that verge on something you might see in a sci-fi movie, artificial intelligence can actually analyse sentiments. Certain tools are available that can determine an emotional state based on the content of a conversation.
Some tools, like Cogito, can analyse vocal inflections and gauge conversation effectiveness. And they use a variety of factors to reach a conclusion, taking into account speech pace, tone, energy, empathy, and levels of interruption and participation.
The data gathered by AI analysis can be imported into CRM, which can produce significant benefits. For instance, the collected information can be used for training, and improving the performance of new salespeople. Upper staff and managers can also benefit from this process.
The result is a higher level of communication both within an organisation and between reps and their customers.
5. Improved Customer Retention
Most companies find that retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. In fact, many organisations have stopped viewing customer acquisition as their primary objective.
Yet, while retention is crucial, it’s also quite challenging. On a certain level, it’s much harder to create a loyal, satisfied customer than to attract new leads.
AI can solve this issue in collaboration with CRM.
Since your CRM already has all of the relevant customer data, it provides a perfect foundation for AI analysis. Artificial intelligence can take the information and extract the vital factors that influence purchasing decisions.
This analysis can result in a specific and detailed buyer persona that will provide you with a model for communication with individual clients and customer groups.
The data will allow you to understand what you should ask your customers and when to contact them. Furthermore, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right platform for communication. Some customers will respond better to emails, while others might be quicker to reply to SMS or targeted ads.
6. More Collaborative Tools
The silo effect is a common problem in many organisations. This effect means that different departments operate separately from each other, not sharing potentially vital information.
Companies that wish to enhance collaboration among their teams will need to deal with the silo effect. And a solution is available through CRMs powered by AI.
Using artificial intelligence, data can be accessed and shared easily across departments and teams. The main improvement in this regard is that AI can make CRMs much less static.
With unhampered CRM use, the data becomes actionable, and the systems easier to use.
Prepare for the Rise of AI
Artificial intelligence has already improved many business aspects, with CRMs being no small exception.
As technology keeps evolving, new solutions and integrations will undoubtedly become available. And companies that learn to leverage the power of AI-powered CRMs will find themselves at a significant advantage.
If you want to fine-tune your CRM and prepare your systems for the business of tomorrow, Automation Agency can help. We can set up cutting-edge solutions that will boost every aspect of your company, from customer acquisition to sales and retention. Feel free to get in touch with us, and we’ll get started.