There will always be a need for customer relationship management evident by its evolution over its decade-plus history.

This continuous evolution is primarily driven by changing customer behaviors and interactions as advancements in technology improve. That’s why today, the core purpose of CRM is to support customer engagement – where all strategies, programs and technologies are being built around how companies provide the right engagement for the best possible customer experience.

In doing so, businesses are finding new ways to update and rearrange their CRM architecture to successfully engage with customers as they seek to understand them better. We all know how CRM helps us learn about our customers, but how exactly can CRM help companies engage and provide excellent – or even delightful – experiences for them?

Make Engagement Easy

Customers want to easily connect and interact with companies while at the same time receive great service. Especially as more buyers tend to self-educate, online reviews and other information outlets are providing convenient ways for customers to shop before making their purchase. If a potential customer can’t find the answer they’re looking for with your company, they will quickly look to competitors who can provide a better experience.

Once a customer does find what they’re looking for, the company must be in a position to directly engage. This is where CRM solutions (beyond software) can truly help companies offer their customers ways to easily engage while fostering an ongoing, omnichannel dialogue that aids in strengthening loyalty and retention. Each tweet, inquiry or email with a prospect or customer completes the puzzle, and the ability to capture those details in real time makes businesses more intelligent, responsive, competitive and – most importantly – sustainable. Customers then receive solutions based on that knowledge, giving them instant results, control and all the facts they need to make a purchase decision now.

Engage Effectively

In order to maximize reach, companies must provide differentiated, effective experiences for broad customer segments while at the same time deliver the right customer experience to the right customer at the right time in his or her customer journey.

Large and enterprise-sized systems that manage customer interaction have to be more sophisticated. They need to tell an end-to-end story of engagement and deliver more by enabling customer engagement and commerce.

CRM can help businesses engage better with customers by helping to tackle inefficient internal processes that hinder the tracking and management of customer engagement.

Create Emotional Bonds

As companies become more aware of the value of engagement, there is a subsequent need to form an emotional bond with their customers.

Smart companies look out for their best interests, identify pain points in a customer journey and use CRM to empower internal customer-facing personnel to make each customer feel uniquely valued.

CRM can help capture and retain critical feedback from surveys and help analyze various unstructured data such as chat transcripts, call notes, social posts and call recordings. Companies must also pay attention to the CRM user experience, and deliver modern engagement which allows users to focus on the customer conversation instead of struggling with their toolset.

Beyond CRM

Customer engagement needs the backbone of CRM. Managing customer calls, communication and sales is just one small component of a broader, more complex customer story.

For a system to go beyond CRM, it must capture every single engagement and touch point to better understand the connection between every customer and the business.

Capturing engagement will help marketers offer more ‘contextual marketing’ and provide more relevant offers or information.

And finally, CRM with added engagement tracking offers live customer insight with a single view for all interactions and points of contact. Modern solutions need to predict and respond to real-time customer dynamics right in the moment and need to anticipate any changes in consumer sentiment that could lead to shifts in market trends.

CRM is the foundational building block of a company’s customer experience strategy to win, serve, and retain customers. It empowers consumers and connects employees to the business in emotional and effective ways.

There is a huge opportunity for companies to engage with their customer base intuitively, meet their demands and predict their needs. To survive in this new reality, companies must have a holistic, end-to-end customer relations solution. This is the only way to differentiate from the competition and understand the way customers are thinking and behaving.