Today, even very small companies are investing in CRM systems to gain the speed, risk management, and efficiency they need to survive and thrive. Without an advanced CRM system, how can companies stay on top of ever-changing customer preferences and deliver the personalized service that customers now demand? How can they respond quickly to new opportunities without automated processes that allow them to be nimble and efficient? 

While the need for CRM software is consistent across the board, the way CRM is used—and the specific benefits it yields—differ from industry to industry. Following are some key customer relationship examples drawn from 10 industries.

What is automotive CRM?

How do you adapt in an industry where the way people buy and own cars is fundamentally changing—and where younger people are buying fewer cars? CRM for the automotive industry provides one platform that helps you gain control of your data and deliver the experiences that customers expect. 

People in a car

Selling direct is one of the big disruptors in the automotive industry as manufacturers regain control of their brands. If they can gain a 360-degree view of customers, manufacturers are no longer completely dependent on dealers. At the same time, car dealer CRM can help dealerships better understand customers, generate highly targeted marketing, and add value to the overall customer relationship. 

Automotive CRM systems open up a myriad of new opportunities. You can introduce new ownership models including car sharing and subscription. Create a global used car marketplace for your brand. Offer deals that include parts and service bundles—and use technology to help customers select the features they really want.   

CRM for consumer products 

Gone are the days when consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies could take a couple of years to launch a new product and then enjoy an extended honeymoon period while competitors scrambled to catch up. Today, faster prototyping is a must—but companies must also zero in on the right products, with the right features, in the right volumes. Successful companies stay hyper-focused on delivering on a myriad of consumer choices: what they want, where they want to shop, how much they are willing to pay, and what information they need to make a final decision.

Woman listening to music

A modern CPG CRM system gives insight into customer behavior today but also into customer preferences tomorrow. It provides real-time information, allowing companies to compete more successfully for shelf space and respond quickly to market shifts. And it provides companies with vital information to help them make key strategic decisions. Should they invest in a direct-to-consumer strategy? Can product and service bundles strengthen relationships in an industry with minimal barriers to switching? Armed with real-time customer insights, CPG companies are better equipped to stay nimble in a hyper-competitive market. 

CRM for fashion 

How do you keep up with the relentless speed of fashion—when the clock is ticking from the catwalk to the discount bin? How do you provide truly personal service but on a mass scale? CRM for retailers can help companies in the fashion industry deliver best-in-class customer service—an important factor considering that 86% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. 

Woman modeling clothing

Here’s how companies are using fashion CRM today. First, they take advantage of Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities to know when their shelves are empty so they can restock. Second, they rely on CRM tools to gather data on customer preferences and buying patterns. Next, they determine where customer tastes are heading, scaling machine learning (ML) capabilities across the business to analyze data and accurately predict “the next big thing” with artificial intelligence (AI). They can create personalized and unique customer experiences by targeting offers around customers’ personal interests—and use chatbots and voice technologies to better serve each customer. 

Keeping up with trends and giving shoppers precisely what they want—every day—is what customer experience in fashion really means. The result? More brand loyalty, fewer markdowns, and less revenue lost to stock-outs.

What is CRM for insurance?

If you think of an insurance policy as a commodity product, you’re likely missing out on opportunities. Price is not the only factor in insurance decisions—in fact, a recent study showed that more than half of consumers are willing to pay an increased premium for insurance that offers additional services. With insurance CRM, you can gain the insights you need to zero in on the services that are most meaningful to your customers. 

An insurance purchase might not be as exciting as a vacation or a new car—but even unengaged consumers can be turned into loyal customers and advocates when provided with a consistent and personalized omnichannel experience. To provide stellar experiences, you need CRM for insurance agents that is tailored to the specific processes and workflows of the industry. Your CRM should offer step-by-step guidance for quotes—specific to rental, property, auto, life, travel, and event insurance—helping the customer get exactly the coverage they need, quickly and easily. 

Your CRM should also make it easy for customers to compare products and to use self-service and collaborative features to purchase. By simplifying the purchasing process and truly meeting customer needs, you can decrease your abandoned quotation applications and increase your sales and share of wallet.  

Use insurance CRM to collect data from customer interactions, and deliver fast, accurate, personalized quotes and policies—on their channel of choice. CRM for insurance agents also provides a self-service option for comparison and purchase.

What is manufacturing CRM?

To thrive in today’s consumer-driven marketplace, manufacturers need to think beyond one-size-fits-all mass production. They now need to engage their customers in a personalized way—and to do that, they need deep, timely insights into customer needs. CRM for manufacturers provides a 360-degree view of the customer, making it possible to configure the right solutions at the right price, in the volumes that the customer requires.  

Manufacturing CRM allows you to engage customers, channel partners, and distributors across the manufacturing lifecycle to create an end-to-end experience that is consistent and compelling for their B2B customers. Eighty-eight percent of B2B executives now consider customer experience to be very important, so it’s clear that manufacturers need to think beyond price and features.  

And the customer experience doesn’t end when a sale is complete. The aftermarket opportunity is massive, estimated to be four to five times larger than the OEM business. Manufacturing CRM can give you the insights you need to understand the entire lifespan of a sold product—including support, repairs, installation, upgrades, handling inspections, add-ons, training, and customization—helping you compete with global, third-party competitors for these additional sources of revenue.  

CRM for manufacturing helps you track usage, monitor purchase decisions, and deliver the finely-tuned, customized experiences that customers demand.  

CRM for public sector 

Engagement is not only for brands. Citizens in your city are no different than a brand’s customers—their customer journey needs to be tracked, analyzed, and optimized for the best possible outcomes. When citizens are satisfied, government and public sector organizations are better positioned to deliver on their mandates.

68% of governments cite improving the citizen experience as their number-one priority.

The key factor in delivering a seamless, efficient citizen experience is technology. CRM for government can help build the digital offerings that the public expects. The new generation of citizens is used to self-service interactions anytime, anywhere, on any device. They expect that their data is secure, as well as accessible, and that the experience is consistent across platforms—whether it be social, web-based, or via mobile app. Governments in turn need to have a single source of truth about their citizens so that they can provide services efficiently, cost-effectively, and without errors.

The public sector exists to serve its constituents. CRM for public sector exists to make the job of government easier, providing the processes, technology, and systems to help them meet the needs of a digitally-literate generation. 

CRM examples in retail

To say that the retail industry has changed massively in the past decade is an understatement—and the change continues at a dizzying pace. Retailers that are defining the future of shopping are those that adopt innovative technology and create personal, compelling, and rave-worthy experiences.

CRM for retail provides the platform retailers need to deliver the hyper-personalized shopping experiences that customers crave. With customer data flowing through a CRM system, retailers can identify, predict, and anticipate unspoken needs and take action with data-based decisions. A practical application is the implementation of a modern loyalty program—armed with data, retailers can deliver timely, personalized offers within the context of the customer’s shopping activities.

The power of machine learning, AI, and IoT can also be harnessed to engage customers throughout their shopping journey. Sensors monitoring consumption can trigger personalized product replenishment offers. Automatic product recommendations based on past buying behavior can prompt the next purchases. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to create immersive simulations that allow users to interact with digital content—for smart clothing fittings, virtual furniture layout, room design, and more. 

A digital supply chain allows retailers to drive efficiencies from the supplier to the consumer’s home. Benefits include better demand forecasting, automated replenishment, and new, convenient delivery options. So while the old retail model is crumbling, CRM in the retail industry is helping leaders find new ways to create unique experiences for their customers—along with new revenue-generating opportunities.

CRM for high tech  

In an industry where the only constant is change, how do you stay ahead of the competition and retain those customers you’ve worked so hard to get? And how do you nurture relationships with potential customers when they no longer follow a linear journey or start their exploration by contacting a sales rep? CRM for high tech will allow you to consistently engage customers throughout their journey, connect the back and front-end departments, and leverage automation and data to ultimately deliver next-level customer experiences.  

55% of B2B sales come from digital channels for high tech companies.

Leading high tech companies are adapting their processes so they can engage with customers when they want, where they want, and how they want. With a modern CRM system, teams across the business have one source for customer data—allowing for effective collaboration, highly targeted offers, and cross and up-sell opportunities. This rich data is drawn from a variety of other sources including email, phone, social, and web—giving providers much deeper insight into each customer’s needs and preferences. As a result, they can offer the truly personalized experiences that can differentiate their offerings from those of the competition. At the same time, they can boost efficiency by automating routine tasks and using AI-driven prompts to effectively guide customer communications.

CRM for travel

How do travel brands connect directly with their customers in the moments that matter—including moments of crisis when arrangements have gone sideways? Travel agency CRM allows you to focus on all aspects of the travel journey, from researching and booking destinations to traveling and post-travel follow up. 

The vast majority of U.S. travelers report that they find travel notifications useful. More than 80% claim that customer satisfaction has risen as a result of contact through mobile channels. Yet deployment of tools including push notifications, SMS, and instant messaging remains low amongst travel brands.  

Modern CRM can give travel agencies all of the tools they need to maintain real-time, personalized communications with their customers—before, during, and after travel. For millennial customers, this is particularly important. A good user experience is essential, but they expect more than that. They want brands to put the user in the center of everything—to solve pain points, hear user feedback, and address issues. The brands that take advantage of travel CRM are far better positioned to meet and exceed expectations, in all of the moments that matter. 

Digital CRM tools help travel agencies collect and use multi-channel customer interaction data—from researching, booking, travel, and follow-up. Rely on CRM to help you bring happy travelers back for more return trips.

CRM for utilities

Customers expect seamless and personalized experiences in every aspect of their daily lives—including interactions with their utility provider. A simple online presence with basic account functions and a call center is no longer sufficient. With CRM for utilities, companies can boost satisfaction, drive loyalty, and reduce costs by serving each customer more efficiently and meeting their needs in new ways. 

Leveraging a robust digital core, utility companies can offer customers service via their preferred channel of communication, be it email, voice call, or text. Outage and restoration notifications can be delivered digitally, reducing surges in call volumes on staff-intensive call centers. Customer satisfaction rates can be further improved when billing choices are available, such as text-to-pay options. Consumers may prefer to click, tap, or type—so providing all of these options will not only deliver convenient customer self-service, but also benefit the business by reducing operating costs.  

By 2019, 85% of the G2000 utilities will have a business unit or separate company to speed up innovation and transformation.

Putting the utility customer experience top-of-mind, utility companies can use advanced analytics to help them define innovative programs. For example, they might introduce an opt-in program that delivers personalized mobile alerts to consumers who agree to reduce energy consumption during peak periods—and even offer them billing credits for doing so. As utility companies strive to meet the world’s energy needs—often under challenging circumstances—such innovation will be key. 

Explore five trends in customer experience

The future of the customer experience will be led by advances in technology.

Summary

As these examples show, today’s CRM offers the tools to help businesses across industries deliver an outstanding customer experience—and to fuel the innovation that is needed to anticipate customer needs, outpace the competition, and thrive in a constantly changing world.