Top CRM Trends to Watch in 2018

• Date: March 2018 •
In the field of customer relationship management there are no absolutes. It constantly evolves and reflects trends and innovations in information technology, which is undoubtedly a good thing. And there is no denying that the continuous enhancement of CRM and associated technologies is largely the merit of Salesforce – the renowned leader in this sector. Salesforce often introduces new awesome things, changing customer-company interactions for the better and at the same time encouraging other industry players keep pace with it.

CRM Trends 2018 by Twistellar

Surely, the year 2018 is going to be rich in new CRM developments, just as it was in the previous years. We at Twistellar tried and made a few predictions about what this year has prepared for Salesforce users. Check them out!

Artificial intelligence powering the workflows

A few years ago Salesforce made a far-reaching strategic decision to embrace AI at the core of the platform's growth. As time has shown, the risk paid off. Last year Salesforce introduced Einstein – AI helper offering a range of features, such as predictive analytics and natural language processing, and users were quick to pick it up. Not all Einstein capabilities are available yet, some will be introduced later in 2018. But even now it is clear that artificial intelligence is the future driving force of customer relationship management, as it allows automating some quite simple yet time-consuming tasks, getting insights into customer behavior, powering reporting and so much more.

This year we believe the key Salesforce CRM artificial intelligence trends will be the following:
- higher user adoption of AI-powered automation tools;
- more artificial intelligence features introduced in other CRMs;
- further introduction of virtual assistants.
Let's stop on this last one for a while. Today we as consumers are increasingly relying on the help of voice-driven helpers, like Siri and Alexa. They significantly accelerate information search, mobile phone navigation and other basic actions. So why not implement the same technology to facilitate some of the routine tasks done by sales reps, marketing specialists and service agents? Thus, Amazon introduced Amazon for Business and we sure can expect more things of the kind appear in the nearest future. By the way, here face recognition is also an invaluable tool in the hands of CRM users, helping then log in to the orgs more quickly, as well as change settings and accesses faster. Meanwhile, voice recognition tools are now employed
Another application of virtual helpers is the enhancement of customer support by adding chatbots to your customer service touchpoints. The resolution of some customer issues doesn't necessarily require the time and effort of an agent, like order status check, for example, and this is a task to be delegated to a chatbot. Moreover, we expect that with the development of natural language understanding and voice recognition, the application of chatbots might actually expand, saving your employees time for more important tasks.

Omnichannel support

Speaking about customer support. While some companies are still juggling several channels inconsistently or are even still using a single touchpoint to communicate with their clients, others are changing their approach to customer service from multi-channel to omni-channel. For some of you, these two might appear pretty much identical, but there are a few differences that make omni-channel support far superior to the first option. While multi-channel barely provides customers with several channels for reaching out to the brand, omni-channel creates a unified experience across all of the touchpoints available.

As more and companies now started to adopt multiple channels, our prediction is they will start searching for ways to streamline customer service and as a result shift to omni-channel support. Consequently, the demand for great customer service apps will rise, and so will the number of high-quality applications launched on Salesforce AppExchange.

Transition to Social CRM

Following up on customer support, we can't but say that social media becomes one of the most preferred ways for clients to reach out to the brand. In their turn, companies recognize the benefits of building online communities on Facebook, LinkedIn and others, as they are great marketing platforms which can also give insights into purchasing behavior and help surface issues that otherwise would be left unnoticed. This said, we expect the rise in demand for social media applications and integrations for Service Cloud users.

AR experiments

Augmented reality has numerous possible applications in the custom relationship management sector:
- Sales teams can use it to offer previews of some items or services, such as furniture, hotel suites and more, and thus encourages prospects to convert.
- Marketing specialists can use it the AR technology to create interactive campaigns.
- Service departments can facilitate training by creating augmented reality powered user guides and roadmaps.

As the technology evolves, it will naturally become cheaper and thus more accessible, giving way to experiments with augmented reality uses.

Mobility at the core

As it has been noted earlier, the use of chatbots is on the rise. One of the reasons is the growing popularity of messengers, such as Facebook, Telegram and others, which provide great opportunities for automating the resolution of some routine issues. Most users access these apps via mobile devices, and businesses need to be aware of this in order to enhance customer experience.

The mobile technology trend won't just influence customers – Salesforce users also can feel it. More and more applications on AppExchange are getting optimized for the Salesforce1 mobile app, to the point that some admins make decisions on choosing a tool from a specific category based on whether it is mobile-ready.
Want to lead the CRM future and stay on top of trends? We at Twistellar will be happy to help you implement your wildest ideas! As certified Salesforce consultants, our specialists will scope your Salesforce project and provide outstanding custom development services on demand, be it an AI-specific project, a social media integration or any other.