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2012: The Year for Focusing on Customers Through Business Process Automation

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January 06, 2012

2012: The Year for Focusing on Customers Through Business Process Automation

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If it's your job to keep an eye on business process management for your organization, particularly as it pertains to customer management, you may be interested to know what's likely in store for you during the year ahead. While many companies have benefited greatly from business process automation (BPA) of their customer processes, the sheer array of solutions and providers may be mystifying.

Too many solutions (particularly solutions that don't integrate well with one another) will not help you: in fact, they may waste time with extraneous, overlapping functionality and your employees might be ready to throw up their hands in disgust at yet another solution to learn and yet another process to follow. A poor combination of solutions may also muddy up your customer relationships instead of clarifying them. So it's important you make wise decisions when it comes to your BPA choices.

William Band of analyst group Forrester recently blogged about “The Top 13 Customer Management Trends for 2012”. Here are some highlights.

Customer experience management. While it's great that your organizations says it's customer-focused, saying isn't doing. This will be the year that organizations must put their actions where their mouth is and define clear and actionable customer experience strategies, and choose solutions to help.

Un-siloing. While many businesses have a lot of customer data, fewer of them have customer data organized in a way that allows call centers, sales and marketing to make the best use of it. 2012 will be a year for creating “customer eco-systems,” writes Band. This will mean many companies must tame their business processes and make sure they work in harmony.

Social CRM. While almost everyone knows now how important social media is to the call center, sales and marketing processes, few companies actually know how to accomplish this in anything better than a slap-dash way. Look for 2012 to bring a harder focus on the best way to make use of social media in internal business processes.

Customers are mobile. Increasingly, your customers are mobile. Are your customer management business processes still treating them like they're not? More solutions will offer features that allow companies to serve their customers on-the-go.

Converging solutions. Forrester (News - Alert) sees the convergence of technologies from varied sectors coalescing to form the core of customer experience management (CXM) solutions, says Band. 

While many years past have been declared “The Year of the Customer,” businesses and solutions providers haven't all been on the spot to accomplish this goal. 2012 may be the year that makes – or breaks – customer-facing businesses, depending on their choices.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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