Rethinking CRM evolution: Voice as a game changer

Business leaders should start investigating what voice features might do for their company. Especially to their CRM systems.

Let me explain why.

Companies have a long history of implementing CRM solutions to support their marketing, sales, or customer service operations. This has been continuous over the last 20 years and there is no sign of slowing down.

During all those years, many companies have been struggling with onboarding business users. Change management programs, lots of training sessions, incentives and rewarding mechanisms have come in support. But this has often been challenging for many firms. A bit of a dilemma. Some perpetually wish they had a better adoption and usage rates.

And the typical answer is: “There are always improvements to be made”. I agree there is a natural progression in changing routines and mindsets of people. We are talking about “journeys” here.

While managers ask themselves which approaches might help them, the game changer might come from somewhere else.

Of the many new features that are released each year, only a small percentage bring something new. One of them is Voice User Interfaces (VUI).

Let’s be clear. I know basically nothing of the technologies behind Voices User Interfaces. I am more obsessed with the actual usage of a technology to support business operations and bring value to an organisation. I see technology as an enabler. And that’s how I look at VUI in this post.

I have one question though…

Is it a breakthrough? I mean, would the possibility of simply communicating verbally with a CRM solution help increase adoption?

One thought raced to my mind.

Voice User Interfaces address this very specific challenge: Convenience or, rather, the lack of convenience.

A telling example is within sales. Let us take some time to reflect on what a salesperson’s role is about: Calling prospects and clients, having meetings with customers, and closing sales. In this case, all other activities like recording activities, contacts or opportunities into a software may appear futile and a waste of time: “What’s in it for me”?

This is a catch-22 situation. We are all aware that the intrisic value of a solution like a CRM lies primarily in the information that is entered into it, rather than with the functionalities. Facebook or LinkedIn, without us crating pages and adding content, would just be empty boxes of nice and clever functionalities. Fortunately or unfortunately. In short, no or poor data means no incentive to use the system.

In this context, what do Voice User Interfaces bring?

Simply said, they are adding a totally new dimension to CRM. They are changing the way we all interact with both devices – phones, laptops, tablets and the like – and softwares. The hope is that it will boost adoption and usage rates. Dramatically.

Now, let us go back to our salespeople.

Imagine a salesperson sitting in a car after a customer visit. He or she simply interacts with the CRM solution verbally. No more keyboards and rectangular boxes to fill in. All new information like contacts, accounts or opportunities are recorded and updated with voice.

It is an entirely new user experience. A fundamental shift.

We do not even need a visual interface any longer. Salespeople’s work will become a little easier.

For now, Voice Users Interfaces have been primarily widespread in the public sphere through Amazon, Google and the like.

In an enterprise context, ultimately, voice capabilities have the potential to significantly and fundamentally transform how organizations work. They will change how employees work with data and systems – contextually and personally. The real power comes from greater convenience and accessibility.

CRM solutions of tomorrow will need to interact with people differently from today. Fundamentally differently.

And voice will come more and more into play. It is probably a game changer worth investigating for many business executives today.

About the Author

Didier Dessens

CRM and Digital Experience Advisory