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Intelligence Briefs

CRM is historical - time to move on

Industry Contributor

Suzanne Steele, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand,

4 November 2019

According to a Forrester report, the case for customer experience management (CX) over the past year has grown stronger, with organisations that focus on CX growing revenue faster than those who are slow to realise its potential. The research conclusively proves that CX quality can affect stock performance. While customer relationship management (CRM) used to be state of art, like most things, the way successful organisations interact with their customers has evolved. From the quality and quantity of data capture to customer journeys that are seamless and personalised – technology is enabling businesses to redefine the way they interact with their customers at every level. 


Key points:

  • Forrester says brands that deliver the best experience can achieve higher brand awareness, order values and customer satisfaction levels
  • Companies that are looking to provide truly memorable and transformative customer experiences to their customers need useful customer insights and data in real time

My Takeout

CRM is a historical record, CXM is a live profile. CRM and CXM solutions are both designed to help businesses understand their individual customers and to better meet their needs. However, CRM typically records past interactions, so it reveals very little about what your customers are actually doing now, which makes it hard to anticipate what they might do, or, more importantly, need next.

CXM, on the other hand, includes this critical historical data but also, crucially, creates a live profile that’s updated in real time based on all aspects of the  customer journey — interactions via email and call centers, browsing activity in online sales channels, purchases in progress, and more.

The difference between the two is like comparing a black and white photo to a working 3D model. Both have value, but one really invites you into the customer’s experience and helps you achieve more over time.

CRM solutions were once rightfully considered state-of-the-art tools for storing batch-added, historical customer data. But these days it is imperative to capture and manage a plethora of customer information — behavioral, transactional, financial, operational, and more — in real time. Companies that want to provide truly transformative customer experiences need customer data that is real-time, intelligent, and predictive.

Customers here in Australia and New Zealand are some of the most discerning in the world, according to a recent Adobe survey that measured what customers want and how well brands are living up to their expectations.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents demand seamless,  personalised experiences from their brands. We expect brands to know us, respect us, surprise, and delight us at every turn, while ensuring total transparency and total cross-platform consistency.

It’s a tall order, but it also offers brands significant opportunities to differentiate themselves from the competition, and those that deliver the best experiences have higher brand awareness, order values, and customer satisfaction levels, a Forrester report found.

But meeting these demands at every customer touchpoint, whether it’s answering a question over the phone or on Facebook, delivering a frictionless checkout experience, or processing a return, requires seamless access to customer data in real time. Moreover, while CRM and CXM technology may sound similar and their goals may be the same, CRM has some inherent limitations.

CRM platforms are essentially a storage system. They provide a unified place to track customer data but they aren’t really capable of much more. You can review customer records in a CRM system, but you’re often limited to a small number of digital interactions that are often added manually by a busy phone agent or retail salesperson when they find a minute to go into the tool.

CXM, on the other hand, captures a much greater volume of customer data in real time — and can elevate that information to provide actionable customer insights to tailor the best possible experiences.

CXM doesn’t merely record information about customer interactions. It crunches all that data in real time, using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data from millions of other customers to help you more accurately predict what your customer really wants. These insights can then be proactively across locations and departments to inform every aspect of the customer experience.

Let’s go. What do you think?

Industry Contributor

Suzanne Steele, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand,

Suzanne is a customer-centric leader who understands the importance of client relationships to competitive differentiation and growth.

Adobe ANZ is at the forefront of a market where no industry is immune from digital disruption. In her role, Suzanne is responsible for driving the ANZ business to new levels as well as supporting customers realise their mission of delivering exceptional experiences.

She has 25+ years’ experience in leading and motivating management teams across data, software and analytics businesses, with her work abroad in North America, the UK and Singapore including senior roles at Visa Europe, CACI London and Morgan Stanley.

Prior to joining Adobe at the end of 2017, Suzanne spent two years leading Experian’s ANZ operations as Managing Director, with proven success in driving high-performance and engagement through a period of significant business transformation. 

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