Over three decades starting in the late 1980’s there wasn’t much to talk about year over year when it came to CCM trends. The big trend was best described as slow incrementalism. If you subscribe to no news is good news, well you got a lot of it.
As we moved into the 21st century the pace of change in CCM software accelerated. We’re seeing new social and interactive communication channels and the cloud playing an increasing role in delivery. 2021 starts a new decade and it seems like an appropriate time to look at some of the current CCM trends. Here are five CCM trends you should pay attention to in 2021.
The Customer Experience (CX) Standard is Rising
One of my favorite statistics comes from Bain & Company which indicates over 80% of companies believe they deliver a “superior experience” to customers, but only 8% of customer believe they are really delivering a “superior experience.” This disconnect seems to be occurring because consumer expectations are rising.
A recent survey revealed over 90% of companies are focused on improving their customer experience. Those companies are constructively working to improve CX, so of course they believe the consumer should be seeing a difference. What they are missing is the standard is rising.
To draw a similar analogy, prior to Amazon Prime everyone thought getting a package delivered in a week to ten days was acceptable. Now anything over two days is unacceptable. The same thing is happening with CX. What was acceptable yesterday is no longer acceptable tomorrow. This is what happens when everyone works to raise the bar.
As for the CCM trends, two things are clear: first, you must improve your CX or risk falling behind your competitors, and second differentiating through CX is getting harder and harder.
Digital First CCM Experience
When it comes to CCM trends “digital first” is about prioritizing content delivery. In this case we’re specifically referring to prioritizing social, web and mobile content over tradition voice and print channels.
What’s driving this change is the approach many companies are taking to improving CX. One of the first steps in improving CX is mapping the customer journey. As most businesses begin to do this, they realize the consumer starts shopping for most products and services online. In fact, major analysts estimate 50% to 70% of the customer’s buying experience happens online prior to engaging anyone at the selling company.
As this change in consumer behavior has occurred, companies have shifted their focus to digital media, and we don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Emerges
With all the change occurring with these CCM trends, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to get information in front of the customer when and where they want to consume it. This is how AI has found its way into being on the CCM trends list.
We live in a content driven world, and as mentioned above, upwards of 70% of the buyer’s journey is occurring online. Almost 100% of the information and educational part of the journey occurs this way. Consumers are educating themselves prior to any engagement with a company.
New AI based marketing solutions are emerging to monitor the customer’s online behavior for indications of interest and progress along the buyer’s journey. These AIs then surface information when/where the customer needs it. The customer enjoys a better experience which in turn makes a favorable impression of the brand.
This is just the start of how AI will begin impacting the customer experience and integration of traditional CCM outputs will be critical to delivering on this.
Cloud Migration Continues
For highly regulated industries CCM software has been a must for years. Therefore, it is one of the oldest components in the technology stack. As large companies move major portions of their infrastructure to the cloud, they’ve found migrating legacy CCM solutions problematic.
Legacy CCM software often relies on out-of-date infrastructure which isn’t supported by the mainstream cloud infrastructure providers. This leaves companies with limited good choices. You can keep legacy CCM on-premise and remain on out-of-date infrastructure and walk a slow death march towards obsolescence or lean on vendors to update their core infrastructure components. Most companies push for the later solution which is why cloud migration remains on our list of CCM trends.
As painful as that migration was, it isn’t over. The CCM migration alerted companies to the security and obsolescence risks of legacy CCM technology. At the same time a new breed of CCM providers has emerged with technology built for the cloud. When we refer to a continuing cloud migration, we’re referring to this new breed of born in the cloud CCM platforms.
These new cloud CCM platforms are architected to that take full advantage of cloud infrastructure scalability and security. They also have a lower cost structure. We’re seeing a mass migration from legacy bespoke solutions to cloud first platforms and there is no sign of this slowing.
Emphasis on Connectivity & Configurability
A residual benefit of the move to born-in-the-cloud CCM platforms is easier configuration and integration. Cloud CCM vendors aren’t standing up a new instance for every customer. Their platforms are multi-tenanted and rely on standardized methods for both configuration and integration.
Gone are the days of bespoke solutions that required vendors to code when changes were necessary. Now business users can manage and maintain business rules and build workflows. Business rules resemble the spoken English language versus something only a coder could understand. Workflow configuration requires simply dragging and dropping standard workflow components. This is shifting control from the vendor to the business user.
CCM software has always required some level of integration with other components of the corporate technology stack to access critical customer information. This reliance remains, but integration is bolstered through standardized APIs which makes building these connections easier and more maintainable over time.
When it comes to CCM software we’re experiencing some of the biggest changes we’ve seen since the early days of the technology. A new era of platforms has arrived, and customer expectations are rising. It’s important to stay abreast of the changing landscape or you risk falling behind. We hope this list of CCM trends help you stay informed and in front of the curve.
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