It used to be that customer experience technology meant only CRM, or customer relationship management. The terms were almost interchangeable because the only technology used to connect with customers was basic data like names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses. However, there has been an explosion of customer technology that is changing the customer experience.
Consider a typical day—you likely check the weather with Alexa before you leave the house, pay your credit card via smartphone app, and call an Uber from your phone. You may also order groceries from your computer and find out what time a store opens by asking Siri. Although we don’t normally call these things customer technology, that is exactly what they are. Every interaction is a chance for brands to learn more about customers and for customers to simplify and improve their lives with technology.
We are surrounded by devices in our homes, in our cars, and on our bodies that collect information that can be useful for brands. A Fitbit can measure our activity levels and overall health, while a telematic device in our car can detect how much we’re driving and if we are being fuel-efficient. Today’s customer tech is much more than just CRM—medical companies can use the Fitbit data to predict health risks, and car insurers can use smart devices to know more about customers and connect with them on a different level.
Customer tech extends beyond what it used to be. Today’s trends like artificial intelligence and augmented reality are more than just passing fads—they have the potential to scale customer experience like we’ve never seen before. There is so much of the traditional customer experience that can be automated, which allows companies to be more efficient and use their human employees elsewhere to make real connections with customers. Instead of contact center agents answering the same questions over and over, brands can take advantage of customer tech to have bots answer calls or chat with customers on an app. Those human employees are then free to expand the customer experience in other ways.
Many companies are also turning to augmented reality, which turns an everyday chore into a total sensory experience. Customer technology can change something as mundane as shopping for new furniture into a relationship-building experience by using AR to show customers how furniture would look in their actual house.
Instead of simply using CRM like was done years ago, modern companies need to embrace the new wave of customer technology that encompasses so much more. Today’s customers expect brands to be there and use the best technology. It can improve the experience for both customers and companies if we consider customer technology to go beyond just CRM.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, author of More Is More, and keynote speaker. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here. Go farther and create knock your socks-off customer experiences in your organization by enrolling in her new Customer Experience School.