CRM incorporates the combination of practices, strategies and technologies which companies use to manage and analyse their customer interactions and data, to improve understanding and business opportunities going forward. CRM software functionality includes the improvement of customer service, identifying trends, and the automation of repetitive sales and customer support tasks. As such, CRM software and AI would seem to be a natural fit.
CRM and AI: intelligent functionality – and beyond
CRM software consolidates customer information, and records it within a single database. There is consequently a significant amount of ‘intelligent functionality’ built into the software already.
While there is not yet artificial intelligence (‘AI’) per se - as it is generally understood - within the current software, this is in the pipeline and anticipated in CRM within the foreseeable future - joining other AI-powered technology, such as chatbots, which are geared to assist human operations online.
One could think of AI in the CRM context as being akin to a human consultant – and it will not be long before this value-add becomes a reality. Our prediction is that AI built into the CRM system will have an impact on consultants as well as designers – all participants in the CRM value chain - and allowing all system users, going forward, to direct the processes they wish to have enabled.
Finances and forecasting
In addition, it is expected that as AI develops within CRM, it will have a financial value attached to it. Certainly, it will be a game-changer, allowing the facilitation of even better forecasting abilities and insights regarding sales trends, metrics and statistics.
Forecasting is always important in any business, and especially in the current economic climate: being able to predict future conditions allows one to adapt and plan. Accurate stock holding forecasts, for example, can save a business from incurring significant costs and cashflow difficulties.
AI coupled with CRM software is therefore anticipated to allow for planning that could fine-tune the marketing of the right product to the right consumer - at the right time. In short, the use of AI within CRM will allow users to predict customer requirements and sales trends which are unique to their business.
AI and CRM: the power of teamwork
It is useful, when predicting the future of AI within the CRM realm, to return to the current conversations around AI-enabled chatbots in a content writing or generation perspective.
According to Croatian technology news portal 5G.hr, one of the chatbots under discussion: “...can also give completely wrong answers and present misinformation as fact, writing ‘plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers’1. The editorial adds that: “...as of right now, chatbots lack the understanding of nuance, critical thinking skills, or ethical decision-making abilities required for good journalism2.”
It would therefore seem that the combination of a good chatbot, together with the intuitive insights offered by the human brain, offers excellent options in terms of teamwork, but that the chatbot is not necessarily able to replace a human journalist or analytical content writer.
In the same way, we believe that AI will add significantly to CRM software in the near future, enhancing its functionality - but without removing or negating the human understanding and contribution to the system.
Consequently, we anticipate a ‘future-forward’ partnership between AI and CRM: improving everything which CRM is currently able to do and ensuring that human intelligence is enhanced and empowered by the presence of artificial intelligence - without replacing it.