In the modern world of online business, the importance of CRM has become clearer for businesses of all sizes. Of course, interactions between a company and its customers have always been crucial in determining success or failure. But in an increasingly internet-oriented world, there are both more interactions and more ways to handle them. As a result, effective CRM plays an even greater role in differentiating one business from the next.
In some cases though, there are entire industries for which effective CRM is particularly helpful (or in some cases is glaringly absent). In these cases, improvement in communication, personalization, and other aspects of customer relations can make a significant difference
With that in mind we’re looking at three specific examples of online industries in need of improved CRM.
1.) Film & TV Streaming
This first example may surprise some readers, particularly given that the successful use of company data by Netflix has been highlighted as a positive example here in the past. But just because an industry is already using CRM (and using it effectively) doesn’t mean there isn’t improvement. And there are two respects in which the film and TV streaming industry could stand to get even better on this front.
One is that even Netflix could stand to seek input from, rather than simply gather data on customers. We’re generally conditioned to accept that the streaming giant understands our preferences and will tailor content recommendations accordingly. But aside from rating films with a simple thumbs-up or -down, viewers don’t have easy feedback options. By building in more features requesting active participation from users — such as ratings out of 10, listed film rankings on profiles, etc. — Netflix could give those users the sense that the algorithms are taking preferences into account more directly.
The other way in which streaming industry CRM could stand to improve, however, is simply through broader use of Netflix tactics. As the industry leader, Netflix does do an incredible job of leveraging customer data to supply optimal content. Few of the company’s competitors come close to matching it in this regard though, indicating that a greater emphasis on CRM is needed across the industry more broadly.
2.) Online Poker
Online poker is an activity that has long fascinated people all around the world. Millions gained a keen interest in the game when it was prominently televised on sports networks some 20 years ago. People were introduced to star players who became famous legends of the game. And when fans watch those players winning tournaments, and learn about the wealth of poker players at the top of the game, it’s only natural that they start wanting to play themselves.
Since most don’t have easy access to casinos and in-person poker tables though, admiration of the game leads most people to seek out opportunities to play online. Now, before we paint an inaccurate picture of the kind of industry this has helped to spawn, let’s be clear: online poker is big, international business. There are millions upon millions of players, and the companies at the top of the industry do very well.
As much as this may be the case though, a lot of those same companies do less than they could be doing to make new players feel at home. While virtually every online poker and casino platform has obligatory customer service features, there is little effort to reach out to new players, gauge customers’ satisfaction, or tailor content to players’ experience or ability. Instead, the focus is fairly nakedly on advertising real-money games and incentivizing competitive play.
More effective CRM could soften these sites a little bit for less experienced players, without compromising the experience for those who are already competitive and comfortable wagering real money. In other words, it would make poker sites more universally appealing.
3.) Real Estate
Real estate is a particularly interesting example, because insofar as it’s an online industry it’s relatively new, and skews young. Data regarding online home buying indicates that a significant portion of people under the age of 50 are using the internet — as well as mobile apps — to find homes and properties to rent. This marks a significant change in a long-established industry, and in most cases the CRM hasn’t quite caught up.
To be sure, if you were to look up homes in your area online right now, you’d likely be setting yourself up for quite a bit of related outreach. You’ll see banner ads and social posts relating to home listings and rental options, at the very least. And if you visit the same site or app a second time, it may even remember some of the preferences you’ve plugged in regarding what type of home you’re looking for. But for the most part, that’s about the extent of the customer relations effort.
Online real estate platforms would do well to collect and leverage more data on their customers, so as to curate more personalized information and offerings. Customer demographics, stated preferences, and so on can go a long way toward determining a range of appropriate property listings, and the simple fact is that sites and apps can be managing these things on their own with very little effort on the part of their customers.
These industries we’ve discussed are not the only ones that could stand to make adjustments and improvements regarding their CRM. But they are handy examples of the fact that even thoroughly established, successful businesses still have work to do in order to optimally serve their customers.
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