What was your favorite gift this past holiday season? For many of us, it may have been a new smartphone or tablet. According to Pew Research, as of May 2013, 56% of Americans have a smartphone, and 34% have a tablet computer (and more were under the tree this December). Simply put, we’re mobile – and the companies we do business with had better be able to intelligently interact with us via our mobile devices as well as more traditional channels and maintain context as we traverse devices. A recent article by Erika Morphy “Will 2014 Be the Year Mobile CRM Goes Omni-Channel?” focuses on how mobile has become the dominant channel and that our CRM systems must adjust to this change. Morphy asks, “Will mobile CRM truly go omnichannel this year?” And beyond that, she raises the question of what that actually means. Many companies seem to equate “omnichannel” with simply supporting multiple channels without maintaining context. But if you are a retailer and you can sell products to a customer using a Smartphone and you make the customer restart the conversation when they move to a new device, is that really omnichannel?
The answer is “no” if you haven’t integrated your back-end systems to support the shift to an omnichannel world. As Morphy points out, omnichannel CRM means that you are “handling all customers from the same knowledge base of data, regardless of whether they come in through the front door of a retail store, access the website through their smartphone or log onto the website from a laptop or tablet.” No more siloes. No more disconnected customer experiences.
Are companies thinking about this? Absolutely. Morphy cites Gartner who predicts that CRM will be the top spending focus for enterprises in 2014. So, we’re investing, but, to make the most of those investments, we need to think from the customer’s perspective in an increasingly omnichannel world where the customer moves swiftly and easily across devices and ensure our CRM systems can maintain context and continuity across channels. As we invest in mobile, let’s be sure to do it right and use an omnichannel approach.