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The pace of business is faster than ever before. Many organizations are mired in the muck of outdated systems and data silos, which render them incapable of moving at the speed of change. From a customer experience perspective, the result is lackluster, "meh" experience that has customers leaving in droves.

The customer turnover rate is now nearly one-third worldwide, whereas in the US, businesses are losing nearly one out of every two customers they gain (47%), according to my company's survey of 1,600 global sales and marketing professionals worldwide—which shows that companies are ill-prepared to counter the trend.

The findings pinpoint organizational turbulence across the customer journey while highlighting the inadequacies of traditional CRM solutions that aren't purpose-built to address today's post-pandemic customer experience realities.

As organizations rush to meet ever-growing customer expectations, greater care must be taken to provide the right service and support at the "speed of now" to put the brakes on customer churn.

This article explores seven ways organizations can harness the speed of technology to more quickly bring customer and analytics insights to the surface, drive high-definition customer experiences, and reverse the "Great Customer Resignation."

1. Get serious about CX processes and data collection

Our study underscores customer experience as the ultimate measure of churn. Global customer churn rates are at an all-time high (32%), and organizations must take corrective action to prevent churn. Almost six in ten respondents to the survey say their churn rate has increased in the last year, yet more than half acknowledge that they cannot track, quantify, or prevent churn—nor even understand why customers are leaving their ranks in the first place.

Every customer interaction is a decisive moment for identifying the gaps between what customers expect and what they actually experience. Fully 73% of organizations admit they need to implement customer feedback to improve the service and experience they offer. Closing that gap is critical to understanding the potential for churn and reversing the Great Customer Resignation.

2. Harness customer data to reveal CX shortfalls

Customer flight is a symptom of an organization's inability to provide a compelling and consistent customer experience across all customer touch points and throughout the customer lifecycle. Sales and marketing leaders (81% of them) say they believe their customers leave because of a lack of communication and personalized, relevant messaging. A bad experience diminishes brand value and hurts both retention and revenue.

Respondents cite many ways that a customer experience can fall short of expectations, including disconnected communications, poor messaging, frustrating service experiences, and a general lack of trust in brands.

The more information you have about your customers, the easier it is to create a high-definition customer experience across Sales, Marketing, and Service.

Resilient organizations will take corrective action, starting with awareness and then acknowledging current process deficiencies that persist in their customer experience challenges.

3. Unify Sales-Marketing-Service data

A primary challenge for many organizations is their incomplete view of customer activity.

Three-quarters of respondents to our survey say a unified view of Sales, Marketing, and Service is critical to delivering an optimal customer experience, but the lack of such a data infrastructure fuels a customer relationship crisis. A shared CRM data platform and business intelligence system fuels the actionable insights that sales, marketing, and service teams need to act decisively at every critical touchpoint throughout the customer journey.

4. Make CRM more accessible, less complex

Technology is supposed to make the hard things easier, but our data suggests it is often too difficult to use, resulting in low adoption and wasted resources. Most sales and marketing professionals (76%) say their biggest frustration with traditional CRM solutions is their being too complex. Usability is a critical issue—especially in times when many rely even more on technology to get their daily work done.

CRM must be more accessible: It should be easy to use daily and easy to update, expand, and customize. Advanced CRM platforms serve up AI-driven insights, providing a better context for teams to take action earlier with appropriate next steps, knowing what opportunities to pursue and personalizing interactions to optimize experiences and grow revenue.

5. Improve lead quality

Driving high-quality marketing leads into the sales pipeline is critical to business success. Still, generating qualified leads remains an elusive task for many organizations. Our study found that more than half (54%) of Sales leads generated by Marketing are deemed either poorly qualified or underqualified, resulting in wasted efforts and lost opportunities.

By better scoring account opportunities, tracking conversion rates, and sharing customer preference insights, customer engagement teams can synchronize their strategy for generating and acting on the most valuable leads.

And though most sales and marketing leaders (63%) say they know it's easier to keep an existing customer than find a new one, retaining that customer can be challenging when the experience just doesn't match expectations.

6. Unify processes and personnel via one tech stack

The entire organization must work together to transform churn into customers for life. The key is an integrated approach, aligning teams and insights under one technology roof. When 63% of sales and marketing leaders say misalignment across customer-facing teams prevents their organization from growing their business, it's time to act decisively to break down workplace data silos.

Good organizational alignment is driven by several factors, including seeing and utilizing relevant data, establishing mutual goals and metrics, and creating a seamless handoff process to improve productivity and ensure ownership. An integrated CRM platform ensures that the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing, and the process starts even before prospects enter the pipeline.

7. Improve customer success at scale with AI and predictive analytics

Investments in AI are advancing organizations from looking in the data rearview mirror to becoming forward-looking by spotting actionable insights earlier. Not surprisingly, Sales and Marketing use cases have seen some of the highest adoption rates, as they can directly affect revenue. And with more data available—especially from digital channels—AI can enable better customer experiences, more personalized engagement, more accurate predictions, and better decision making.

Although nine in ten companies say they use AI today, the question is whether they can derive real value from its use and how many processes can be improved.

Use cases for AI solutions with high adoption cited by survey respondents include automated emails (44%), account intelligence (40%), conversational AI (36%), lead conversion (33%), and opportunity-close prediction (33%).

Deploying AI takes advantage of your CRM data by transforming it into useful information that improves decision-making and predicts customer needs.

* * *

Optimizing customer engagement and experience remains a key focus for business leaders today. The good news is that advances in technology are making the hard things easier when delivering great customer experiences.

It's hard to stay ahead when your customers are leaving you in droves. And it's hard to make the necessary changes to your sales, marketing, and service efforts and operations when you aren't in a position to understand where issues and pain points in the customer journey exist. The stresses and strains of the past two years have tugged at the organizational fabric, in many cases tearing it at the seams. Those are the places where you are failing your customers.

The time is now to harness the speed of technology insights and analytics to drive high-definition customer experiences and reverse the Great Customer Resignation. We have the technology—let's use it.

More Resources on Reducing Customer Churn

Reduce Customer Churn and Maximize Revenue: It's Time to Let AI Do the Work

Four Ways to Reduce Churn and Create a Companywide Culture of Customer Success

Five 'Customer Marketing' Tactics to Boost Retention and Reduce Churn

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Christian Wettre

Christian Wettre is SVP and general manager of the Sugar Platform at SugarCRM, a customer relationship management software company.

LinkedIn: Christian Wettre