Despite a few years of the drastic volatility in cryptocurrencies and short stint of “the roaring 2000teens” via the crowdfunding industry related to blockchain projects, we are still far from mainstream technology adoption. Numerous industries are waiting to absorb and accept the apparent benefits of blockchain technology. The Customer Relationship Management area is ripe for innovations. Moreover, the last two decades has seen tremendous investments into CRM platforms with mixed returns. However, the path to real advancements in this area lies in the fusion of existing and developing tools.
Emerging technologies advances can unlock more CRM’s value
In the world of digital-everything, correct and transparent data matters. Consumer market shows a tremendous rise in fragmented data volumes during the last several years. Moreover, most consumers trust reviews on various Internet platforms more than the personal recommendations from their friends. Some research proves that 79% of consumers will research your product online before making any purchase, and will use several channels to interact with specific brand(s). It is always the “year of customer”.
In order to engage potential customers across multiple devices and in multiple channels, accurate data is required and with CRM software, you are able to create a 360 degree overview of each person you connect with.
Truth is, CRM nowadays is the biggest software market globally and it’s growth rate is still solid. This market is now expected to reach more than $80 billion in revenues by 2025. Besides, according to Buyer Zone (now acquired by Business.com), 91% of companies with more than 11 employees nowadays use CRM software.
As we can see, there has been a huge amount of resources spent on trying to collect and communicate to prospects and customers in a 360 degree manner (marketing, sales, fulfillment, social, mobile, email, etc.).
Back a few years ago, Nucleus Research found that companies continue to make new investments in CRM to take advantage of new analytics, social collaboration, mobile, and other capabilities — and with good reason. In analyzing Nucleus ROI case studies on CRM, they found the average returns from CRM have increased since 2011, from $5.60 to $8.71 for every dollar spent.
To continue this trend, technological developments will continue to see the birth of more proof-of-concept projects utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)/Blockchain. The question is, how DLTs can potentially reshape the CRM marketplace and make it more valuable?
Blockchain and CRM: Some Benefits of Fusion
· Enhanced Safety & Privacy benefits
Most CRM platforms and databases are hosted on cloud services, which, still raises concerns about their security. In 2008, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM. This figure has now increased to 87%! This segment is growing constantly and therefore, the risks also rise. Unlike the blockchain, these platforms are often centralized and have a multiple points of vulnerability that often lead to small number of failure points. On the other hand, existing blockchains are decentralized, encrypted and distributed across regularly synchronized peer-to-peer networks.
· Amplified Loyalty Programs
Encrypted, synchronized and multiple copies of network breach possibility is close to zero
Who doesn’t like bonuses? Loyalty programs are one of these incentives that enable your customers return over and over again. Since customer experience relies not only on actual service, but also on the means to improve it, companies attract and drive more profits by taking their clients beyond satisfaction to delight. The devil is in the details.
Some challenges, problems and issues around loyalty programs are well known. Data can be broken or misleading, brands providing programs which work out well are in the minority. Also, customer satisfaction is often low due to the inconvenience of usage. Reshaping loyalty programs is not a “mission impossible” since we can use two benefits of Blockchain:
• Customer data stored in a Blockchain network with one universal API to enable both corporate, regional and local data access for sales, marketing and service strategy development.
• Blockchain “loyalty” tokens and wallets
• Store points and behavior data in a customer “wallet” empowering customer to make and act in their own way
• Easy-to-access and use within the brand ecosystem and eliminating cumbersome processes to access and use loyalty benefits;
• Potential accounting benefits in tokenizing your loyalty points as an asset balancing your liabilities.
· Better/easier insight into your customer’s world
The “Customer Journey” can be fragmented and asynchronous. Marketing and Sales can be difficult to coordinate through the acquisition funnel. Similar to loyalty program management, marketing and sales can benefit from a distributed and simplified blockchain network of data for the customer journey.
• CRM/Omnichannel marketing tracking and analysis
• The Market is voluminous in the tools, databases and platforms to try to aggregate unstructured and structured data sets (social, web, mobile, etc.)
• Streamlined blockchain network of customer journey data with one universal API for access across your enterprise.
• Cost effective data management
• One blockchain platform for your database of record regardless of 3rd party platform providers
• Less need on cloud or technology infrastructure costs as data is encrypted and distributed amongst your customer’s technology platforms and yours
The bright future of CRM intertwined with Blockchain
As seen in this article, there are a few key ways Blockchain can be used to amplify the value of your CRM platform(s).
Blockchain is not an overhyped commercial tool, but rather a maturing technology, which already improves numerous industries — logistics, financing, shipping and etc.
One thing we can all agree on is that customer journey and loyalty management is becoming more fragmented across channels and across data types (structured and unstructured). It is inevitable that a true universal “data of record” network along with unified access will have to be implemented in order to attain true CRM value.
The future is just waiting around the corner: companies need to realize how to use next-gen Blockchain solutions.