Managing Customer Relationships in 2025
By : Dr. Vinod Vasudevan
Building longer, deeper, and profitable relationships with your customers is central to the subscription economy that is set to encompass major part of our lives. Customer relationship management that was once a business intelligence or product-driven activity, rightfully changed to a customer-centric activity, about a decade ago. Customer centricity helps enterprises to develop a deep understanding of their customers, predict their wants and needs and act in a manner to meet those wants and needs. By this, enterprises gain a strategic advantage through superior customer experience, increased stickiness, higher sales, and higher profits.
Developments in data-driven marketing technology over the past decade have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of enterprises. Flytxt provides one of the leading solutions in this area that is easy-to-use and integrated with out-of-the-box unique marketing AI for automated campaign design and optimization. Over the next 5 years, rapid developments in technology, some of which are already available in the laboratories, will allow enterprises and consumers to enjoy a vastly transformed and true customer-centricity. Leadership in Customer Relationship Management in 2025 will be determined by the following 6 major characteristics:
- Autonomous marketing that brings speed and accuracy beyond human capability, eliminates manual labour and human bias while encouraging creativity.
- Federated customer value management where enterprises collaborate and pool their resources to drive higher customer value across their customer base.
- Explainable marketing AI when the actions taken by AI to automate as well as to increase marketing effectiveness will be explained by the AI itself.
- Ubiquitous contextuality where the context across devices, access mechanisms, service lines, and enterprises will determine the marketing context.
- Strict data privacy ownership where each consumer will own their data and control how, when, where and who will use their data.
- Hybrid cloud architecture that provides marketing flexibility and enterprise-level collaboration while preserving data privacy and security.
Autonomous Marketing: The entire marketing process from data analysis through segmentation, decisioning, execution, measurement and optimization will be done by the software without practically any manual processes. Human creativity will be focused on setting strategies, goals and boundaries for the machine to operate within. With autonomous marketing enterprises will never miss an opportunity to engage with their customers, that too in an optimal manner. The speed and precision needed to identify and act upon each customer wants and needs in a timely manner is simply beyond human capability. Enterprises that adopt autonomous marketing systems will hugely benefit not only from the split-second precise decisions but also by eliminating all human bias while being at the same time imbibing human creativity.
Federated Customer Value Management:All customers are consumers of many enterprises. Often, we purchase the same or similar goods and services from multiple enterprises. Each consumer’s behavior, needs and wants are decided by a combination of their interactions with all the enterprises and not necessarily by the interactions with one enterprise. The customer spend on one enterprise is significantly influenced by their spend on others. Ideally, every enterprise should consider their customers’ interactions with all other enterprises as well as their own to take the best decisions to increase customer value. Enterprises who adopt technologies that help them to share sensitive, private data and collaboratively orchestrate customer value management programs will take a leap in customer value management over others.
Explainable Marketing AI: Every enterprise has a need to understand the reasoning behind its business decisions and the impact thereof to craft and execute successful strategies. And this holds true for marketing as well as any other department. While marketing AI will continue to create significantly better outcomes, its adoption, and effective usage will be held back if the basis for its decisions and actions are not explainable or understood by the enterprise. Explainable marketing AI will not only make the best marketing decisions but also throw light into what is the basis and reasoning behind those decisions. Enterprises must adopt explainable marketing AI so that they can understand the reasoning behind the machine’s decisions and work with the machine to adapt the reasoning – much like how an enterprise works with a human expert synergizing their thought processes.
Ubiquitous Contextuality: More and more businesses will operate across the physical and digital world and so will consumers move seamlessly across the physical and digital worlds to experience their service provider. And an ever-increasing number of connected devices and access networks connect the consumer to their service provider enterprises, not one at a time but simultaneously across virtually all of them. The context of a consumer will not be determined based on a single device or channel but will be distributed across many of them. Think of all the devices in the smart home, connected car, office, Wi-Fi hotspots, and beacons on the roads. In order to develop a deep understanding of the consumer, the context has to be stitched across a very broad set of devices and environments. With a broader context, enterprise can analyze and understand more about customers, thus creating a deeper relationship with them.
Strict Data Privacy & Ownership: Access and rights to process customer data is central to building and managing valuable customer relationships. Customer data ownership and privacy are paramount in this. Using customer data that has been obtained through less transparent means or fuzzy agreements is already under question, with the biggest names in the industry tripping over it. Just anonymization of customer identity or data localization alone will not be enough to assure the customers that their data is safe and private. Each customer must have irrefutable ownership of all data about them and must be able to decide who can use their data, when, how, for what purpose,etc. And all private data, except in the hands of the individual, will be stored and processed with strict encryption.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture: Data is a key asset; it’s privacy and security are of utmost importance. At the same time, customer engagements have to be orchestrated collaboratively within enterprises and between enterprises in order to build long-lasting, profitable customer relationships. Hybrid cloud architectures that accommodate data in the private cloud of the enterprise, or ultimately even with the individual customer, and orchestrate secured sharing/use of data in a common public cloud will be the leading architecture for any manner of customer relationship management. Enterprise who adopts a hybrid cloud architecture will be able to adequately balance the needs of data privacy and security and at the same time enjoy the benefits of collaboration and federation, placing them well ahead of others.