Just like the internet, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been around for many years.
But it wasn’t until quite recently that ordinary people – like you and me – started to use it for their everyday needs.
The internet technology first appeared in 1969 in the form of Arpanet followed by a string of inventions and transformations. But it was not used by the general public until 1993 when the World Wide Web was launched into the public domain allowing even non-tech people to browse information online.
AI too existed since 1950s but only in the tech/programming communities, going through bouts of evolution and experiment. Only after many decades, the general public started to use the AI-inspired inventions – often not even consciously associating the new, cool services and gadgets with AI.
Here are just a few examples of everyday AI use that’ve existed for quite some time now:
- voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
- recommendation systems for online services like Netflix, Amazon, etc.
- virtual chatbots used in customer service
- social media algorithms that allow better content personalization
- speech recognition technology and voice-to-text dictation software
- Google Translate
- spam email filtering
- image recognition...
the list goes on and on… 😲
And then came OpenAI with ChatGPT and everything changed both for businesses and everyday users.
Just in the first 5 days since its launch, ChatGPT attracted a whooping 1 million users, signaling the start of a new era in which AI becomes a legitimate and familiar part of everyday user experience.
As Andrew Ng, computer scientist and Coursera co-founder, famously said: “Artificial intelligence is the new electricity.” The impact of the new technology is indeed monumental, as there isn’t a single industry or system that won’t be transformed by AI in the near future.
The AI explosion and global expansion
What we witness today is a grand-scale explosion of AI-enabled technology.
Virtually all tech giants are coming up with their own AI-powered products and services that are able to perform what have traditionally been considered as “human only” activities – like painting, fiction, poetry, music.
AI can now see, hear, smell, move, touch, play, and even fantasize. 😮
And AI continues to evolve at a supersonic speed providing the general public with innovative tools and cutting-edge services. Scary for some and full of promising possibilities for others – AI hasn’t left anyone indifferent or unaffected.
No surprise – the world of business was the first to jump on the AI bandwagon and has big plans for the future:
- AI market is projected to reach $407 billion by 2027
- AI is expected to grow annually at a rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030
- AI will lead to an estimated 26% ($15.7 trillion) increase in the global GDP by 2030
Clearly, AI is here to stay. And if it doesn’t turn into an evil overlord destroying the human race, we can really benefit from it in the meantime.
But we’ve diverted…
🔎 It’s time to zoom in on the synergy between AI and B2Bs in general and CRM solutions in particular. Let’s explore.
Synergy level 1: B2Bs and AI
AI can help B2Bs with many practical things.
The most obvious benefit that AI offers is the automation of tasks that no longer need humans, which results in increased productivity and lower costs.
According to a Forbes Advisor survey, 64% of businesses believe that AI will help increase their overall productivity. And 44% of business leaders say that AI can increase productivity specifically through automation.
But process automation and enhanced productivity are not all there is to enjoy! AI also helps improve business operations and decision-making processes by analyzing large datasets and generating valuable insights.
Bottom line – AI technologies can transform the way a B2B business operates and interacts with its customers.
One of such transformational areas is the use of the AI-powered CRM solutions that can help B2B companies to better:
- manage customer interactions
- analyze big chunks of customer data
- analyze customer behavior patterns
- predict customer preferences
- track sales activities and identify new sales opportunities
- give personalized recommendations to sales teams
The list can go on…
|“With AI in CRM, businesses can count on a steady flow of high-quality leads, better sales team efficiency, and more successful customer interactions, eventually leading to increased revenue and success,”
Campbell Tourgis, Executive VP & COO at Wainbee.
But how can AI enhance the capabilities of a CRM solution on a more practical, day-to-day level?
Synergy level 2: CRM and AI
CRM is a flexible and scalable business solution that loves change.
And AI is a game-changer when it comes to productivity, process optimization and data analytics – the backbones of a CRM system. Acting like a powerful sidekick, AI makes a CRM solution smarter in analyzing customer data.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that almost half (46%) of businesses use AI for customer relationship management.
Here is just a handful of ways AI can enhance a CRM solution:
🙂🙁 Sentiment analysis. Reading into customers’ emotions, AI can analyze customer interactions and feedback by paying attention to the tone, sentiment and context of customer emails, chat transcripts, and social media posts. This allows sales and customer support teams to better understand customer satisfaction levels and address any issues before it’s too late.
🤝 Relationship analysis. Are you on top of your current relationship status with your customers? AI can analyze customer interaction history and identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business’s relationships with its customers. This helps sales teams activate relationship-building efforts, find upselling opportunities, and address customer concerns proactively.
🗣️ Chatbots and virtual assistants. Integrated into a CRM system, chatbots and virtual assistants can handle routine customer inquiries, provide instant responses, and even help in lead qualification. And as a massive bonus – businesses can free up human resources and provide 24/7 support.
📊 Sales forecasting. AI can analyze not only sales-related CRM data but also market trends and external factors to generate accurate sales forecasts. This gives sales teams insights into future sales opportunities, and helps sales managers allocate resources more effectively and set realistic sales targets.
🦾 Sales process automation. AI-enabled CRM systems can supercharge the sales process by automating routine tasks like data entry, customer records update, generating reports, sending follow-up emails, and lead scoring. This helps to free up sales reps from the time-consuming admin tasks and gives them more time to focus on high-value activities, like building close business relationships.
🏃 Churn prediction. Knowing how customers are using your product is important for predicting the likelihood of customer churn. AI can help with that! It also will point to some alarming red flags, such as decreased engagement or increased number of support requests, identifying at-risk customers and prompting businesses to take proactive measures to retain them.
Of course, this list is not a reflection of ALL the benefits of the CRM-AI synergy. Yet, these are critical areas responsible for finding the right customers and keeping them for a long ride.
Here is how Sudhir Khatwani, Director of The Money Mongers, Inc describes the CRM-AI synergy:
“AI is the jet fuel CRM has been waiting for. By adding AI into the CRM mix, you’ll you get a setup that knows your customer's real-time preferences, needs, and wishes. It's about giving every customer the red-carpet treatment, without having to manually roll it out every time.
“Now, sprinkle in some ChatGPT charm, a dash of mood-reading through sentiment analysis, and chatbots that don’t sound like robots, and you get a customer service ‘dream team’ that's on the ball 24/7. AI in CRM is a tech magic that can turn a ‘might-be’ customer into a fan for life!”
Synergy level 3: Customer relationships and AI
A CRM’s main objectives are to help businesses not only manage customer relationships, but also build strong, long-term bonds based on trust.
That’s why a CRM solution is the key instrument when a business decides to embrace a customer-centric approach.
With the arrival of AI – things have changed. AI managed to supercharge the key “customer-centric” CRM functions in terms of quality and speed of data analysis, helping B2Bs make data-driven business decisions.
|“64% of business owners believe AI has the potential to improve customer relationships, indicating a positive outlook on the role of AI in enhancing client interactions,”
reports Forbes Advisor.
56% of businesses expect AI to improve their customer service offering.
🙂 An even higher level of excitement is on the customers’ side: 63% of consumers think generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the way they get help from a company, and 6 out of 10 consumers believe generative AI will improve the customer service experience.
Though the expectations are high, they aren’t unattainable. Given that a CRM solution contains accurate and up-to-date information, the addition of AI can take your customer service offering to a whole new level.
Let’s take a look at a few AI-powered CRM functionalities that can enhance your customer service.
- Immediate support with the help of chatbots. By answering frequently asked questions and resolving common issues, chatbots allow businesses to offer 24/7 support. As a result, customers receive prompt responses and assistance, which is crucial for building trust and satisfaction. In fact, 58% of B2Bs are already using chatbots on their website.
- Proactive resolution of potential issues. It’s best to anticipate a problem before it arises. AI can monitor usage patterns and customer feedback to detect signs of dissatisfaction or potential problems. This allows businesses to take proactive measures to resolve issues and prevent customer churn.
|“AI is poised to bring about a paradigm shift in CRM, transitioning from a reactive system to a proactive one that's capable of understanding and anticipating customers' needs.”
Will Yang, Head of Growth & Customer Success at Instrumentl.
- Real-time solutions. If you can help customers right here, right now – your service is great! AI can provide real-time insights and suggestions to customer service agents, helping them make informed decisions, offer solutions during customer interactions, and as a result increase customer satisfaction.
- Automated data entry and updates. Entering data into a CRM system can be time consuming. Luckily, AI is great at automating the data entry process and updates in the CRM. This leads to more efficient customer interactions since the customer information is always accurate and up to date.
- Routine task automation. If you automate the repetitive workflows and tasks with the help of AI, you allow your CS teams to focus on more complex and high-value activities. This results in faster response times and more happy customers.
Once again, it’s the data that runs the show when it comes to a CRM solution’s effectiveness. Without accurate and relevant data, great customer experiences are not possible. Because it’s the data analysis that allows you to address the real needs of your customers and make evidence-based decisions.
Here is an overview of key AI-powered CRM functionalities that can improve customer experience.
- Personalized communication. You can stand out from your competition by offering personalized experiences. AI can perform text analysis of vast amounts of CRM data to understand your customers’ preferences, needs, and sentiments. This allows you to tailor your communications with customers, making them feel understood.
- Feedback analysis. Improve customer satisfaction with the help of AI-powered sentiment analysis of feedback, reviews, and social media interactions. It will help you make improvements, address concerns, and demonstrate a commitment to customer happiness. Also, chatbots can offer an easy-to-use way to collect feedback and conduct surveys, giving you valuable insights for improving your products and services.
- Customer engagement. Draw your customers’ attention at the right time with the AI-driven analysis of customer behavior and interactions. It will suggest the most relevant and timely engagement opportunities, such as follow-up emails, promotional offers, or personalized content – to keep the customers’ interest alive.
|“AI ultimately helps businesses build stronger customer relationships by delivering
more personalized, efficient, and responsive experiences without costing extra time, energy, or money,”
Kevin Miller, Digital marketing & SEO Expert.
The synergy that stimulates growth
AI and CRM are like a dynamic duo supercharging each other’s powers.
And the three synergy levels above only prove the beneficial connection between the two.
Incorporating AI functionality into their CRM solutions is a future-proof decision that allows businesses (both B2B and B2C) to not only streamline operations and optimize resources, but also improve their customer relationships and offer more personalized experiences.
|“AI-powered CRM systems improve customer happiness and retention, boost corporate performance, and build stronger relationships by providing a more tailored, effective, and responsive customer experience,” Eric Lam, Founder of Exploding Ideas.
Finally, it’s funny how something so nonhuman as Artificial Intelligence can help us improve the most human and complex thing of them all – relationships. Yet, to build long-lasting bonds you need much more than just software solutions, you still need to make a true human connection.
💡 Learn more about the existing generative AI functionality in SuperOffice CRM and our plans for the future.