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The Future of Customer Relations: How AI is becoming a key part of CRM systems

By Jessica Compton, Marketing Manager, Pragmatiq

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are becoming an increasingly important element to organisations with extensive customer bases, with such systems promising to improve customer experiences and streamlining procedures that make up the intricate customer relations process. It is therefore of little surprise that 91% of companies with more than 11 employees turn to CRM systems to manage relations with their customers. Because of this, the CRM market is expected to grow by 13% per annum from 2022 onwards.

With this in mind, questions may be asked about the effectiveness of existing CRM systems, and what options are available for organisations wishing to continuously enhance their customer service provisions. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. Its potential role within CRM systems should not be underestimated, and its ability to remedy existing inefficiencies in today’s customer relations processes is a vital resource to many organisations. 

Efficiency and effectiveness

Perhaps the most important role that AI can offer to CRM systems is how it can simplify and transform data, assuring a more clarified form of customer service and overall organisational operations. 

In research carried out by Dun & Bradstreet, it is indicated that 91% of data within traditional CRM systems is incomplete, with a further 18% being duplicated and 70% rendered stale without the use of AI. With an additional 77% of C-level executives complaining about the disruption that disorganised data can cause, it becomes clear that existing CRM systems contain barriers which can prevent optimal data management being achieved. The integration of AI in order to recognise and identify these trends within large datasets may help to overcome such issues, whilst simultaneously improving data accuracy and transparency.  

In addition to this, AI is becoming a crucial part of CRM thanks to its ability to provide greater sales insights, particularly those relating to the analytics of an organisation’s customers. CRM systems that utilise AI can effectively divide and segment customer bases upon purchasing habits, demographics and other characteristics. Not only can this inform the sales efforts and strategy of an organisation as a whole, it may also aid more customer-facing departments who may wish to respond to specific demographics of the customer base. This may make such processes more efficient by no longer having to solely rely on timely, and sometimes costly, procedures to both collect and analyse information on an organisation’s customer base. 

Overall, there are two main ways that AI may improve the efficiency of existing CRM systems. Firstly, ensuring data ‘cleanliness’ and organisation will have far-reaching impacts across a company with detailed analysis of its customers leading to improved understanding and awareness. These are evidently beneficial, but what does this look like for the users and how can their experiences be improved? 

AI is key to improving the customer experience

Initially, customers might expect a hyper-personalised service thanks to AI-backed CRM systems. This may take form in increasingly relevant information or products being viewed by customers, or more efficiently in sometimes arduous elements of the customer experience such as waiting on hold for a phone call. In addition to this, customers may feel that the businesses they support are listening to their feedback, with AI-backed sentiment analysis being key to this. It becomes clear that the integration of AI into existing CRM systems is able to produce real time, mutually beneficial results within the customer relations process. 

The integration of AI into CRM systems shows no signs of slowing down, with customer relations expected to be continually revolutionised by AI in years to come. Looking forward, it is increasingly likely that AI will be further integrated into more cloud-based solutions, particularly those that deal with larger datasets. After all, there is only so much of a data increase that cloud software can effectively manage and facilitate; machine learning is where AI can excel in this regard. An effective CRM system is just one example of where this continued integration will be protracted in the years ahead. 

Overall, CRM systems are excellent tools which can directly contribute to organisational success and harmonious customer relations. Yet it becomes clear that existing systems may require some updates in order to work at their full capacity and for organisations to reap the most benefits with their CRM system. The continued integration of AI into CRM systems shows little sign of abating, and as digital transformation continues to make a big impact, the customer experience can only improve and become more seamless for users both now and in the years ahead.