All right: that is enough of a nod to the US Navy’s decision to eliminate ALL UPPER CASE in its messages. The past is the past and uppercase makes too many waves for sensitive young recruits. On the topic of the established order and its antiquated ways, it was disappointing to see the state of CRM software used for engaging the customer of 2013 and beyond. What is in it? Rows and columns of data, extracted and plopped on a screen, lacking any intelligence, regurgitated information about account, contact, contract value, blah blah and very blah.
Where is the next generation of customer engagement software? Software that is not a pile of stored procedures and database triggers, but truly intelligent, looking for the nexus of customer location, social connections, sentiment, mobile device that they are carrying or the state of the object they are interacting with. Something that is highly contextual that matches the customer’s intent – now and in the near future: the knowable but perhaps currently unknown to you – with the intent of the enterprise to win them over and serve them profitably over the long haul?
If you are candid with yourself, this is not the software that your company has procured from any of the core business application vendors. They are largely data regurgitators. Even if they are serving it up faster, in more locations, on more devices, and from the Cloud, it is still clueless about any of the new fundamentals that will guide customer relationships over the next ten years.
What is wrong? I think the Kinks put it best in Give the People What they Want:
Well, it’s been said before, the world is a stage
A different performance with every age.
Open up the history book to any old page
Bring on the lions and open the cage.
Give the people what they want
When we stop buying or subscribing to the latest version of the same stuff with a prettier interface, something might improve. However, most of us are gutting our internal IT resources and looking to the skies for help. Or the Cloud.
One point to raise on the issue of current-generation sales and support systems is on the efficacy of outcome from the end-user perspective. Not from an IT perspective and not from the narrow definition of near term shift from Capex to Opex – but from the perspective of: have your employees become more effective and have your customers become more engaged with you and your brand? In the end, would these not be the gating factors to measure software success? Versus: wow, I deployed a Cloud solution.
There is an entire new crop of small startups delivering amazing capabilities in understanding intent, connections, importance/value, location, contextual information needs – and we are writing about them. For now, spend some time imagining how things might be better and look for niche technologies that will be disruptive to something very small in the enterprise. Try lots of little innovation projects with advanced analytical bolt-ons and see the world of new possibilities in customer engagement.
Anyone tried any yet?
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