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Wearable Devices: The Next Big Thing in CRM


By integrating wearable computing devices with CRM systems, organizations can access real-time account data, engage more effectively with customers, identify opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling, and enrich customer relationships at every encounter.

As wearable technologies grow in popularity, they will reshape how work is done and decisions are made. Soon, users will enjoy the same integrated digital experience from wearables that they expect from their desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet, but with the ease and convenience afforded by watches or glasses. 

Wearables are on the cusp of mass adoption, among both individuals and enterprises. The worldwide wearables market is expected to reach $8 billion in 2018, increasing at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7% between 2013 to 2018. According to the same study, the penetration rate of wearable technology will accelerate over the next five years, reaching roughly 46% of the total addressable market by 2018.

CRM vendors are collaborating with vendors of wearable devices to explore a variety of business-use cases, such as generating effective leads and campaigns, and reducing lead-to-order cycles. Microsoft Dynamics CRM supports the customization of a mobile platform compatible with Google Glass, and has released a developer platform that enables wearable apps to connect to its CRM system. Wearables are further supported by Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, telecom networks and APIs provided by standard operating platforms, such as Android and iOS.

Wearable Tech Meets CRM

Unlike recent technology trends that were driven by either consumers or businesses, wearable technology is being simultaneously adopted by both individuals and organizations. This provides a compelling scenario for businesses to synchronize their CRM systems with wearables worn by employees, prospects and customers.

Wearables offer round-the-clock, real-time access to product or services information, from anywhere (through interactive maps), at any time (online/offline mode). Furthermore, these devices can collect customer data on everything from purchase behavior and location, to activities, health indicators and hobbies, providing companies with insights to enrich the customer experience at every touchpoint. 

Wearables' Impact on CRM

Different types of wearables will impact CRM in a variety of ways across functional areas, as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Potential uses for wearables in the CRM ecosystem include the following:

  • Sales. CRM systems provide companies with the ability to develop a 360-degree view of customers and generate actionable up-sell and cross-sell opportunities – helping to improve lead conversion rates. When integrated with wearable devices, this information can be displayed in real time on the device, enabling sales reps to: 

    • Improve their planning for customer calls and activities. Reps can significantly increase their selling efficiency when they are given additional visibility into more opportunities and can better manage their selling time. 

    • Ensure timely follow-up with customers through timely notifications delivered to the rep’s wearable device for upcoming tasks, events, appointments and meetings. 

    • Generate quotes in real time and quickly capture customer approval and feedback. 

    • Immediately update account/contact information and record customer interactions. 

    • Access products and price lists to close deals more quickly, increase the size of the deal, and enable consistent, collaborative customer management. 

    • View key metrics on which marketing efforts result in profitable sales.
    • Receive on-the-job training by recording sales calls on the device.  
  • Marketing. Using wearables, marketers can employ context-aware and real-time marketing insights to:

    • Send personalized and targeted offers directly to a customer’s wearable device, in real time. 

    • Transform digital marketing by capturing information on buying preferences, location and customer profiles, when and where needed. 

    • Manage and track multi-channel marketing campaigns in real time to ensure that leads are pursued. 

    • Send customized product catalogs and promotion materials to customers from the user’s wearable device. 

    • Leverage location-based tracking mechanisms to extract contextually relevant data that informs product/service interests. 

    • Send and analyze consumer surveys to automatically track feedback and gauge reactions to advertisements. 
  • Service. Using wearable devices in service management enables organizations to: 

    • Offer readily available literature and solutions (videos and documents) to assist service reps and increase customer satisfaction. 

    • Empower service reps to collaborate globally with support teams and knowledge systems in real time, decreasing complaint resolution times and increasing agent productivity.
    • Enable service reps to immediately acknowledge customer service requests/cases and remain accountable through resolution.
    • Measure field service reps’ activity metrics by monitoring and capturing data through their wearable device and using that data to calculate performance incentives. 

Looking Ahead

Wearable technology has the potential to influence the entire CRM landscape. Organizations can begin to integrate these advancements with their overall CRM strategy by doing the following: 

  • Identify opportunities to utilize wearables as a new channel and enhance core business processes across sales, marketing and service functions. 

  • Select the right wearable devices among the many options available, and identify which ones fit best within their CRM ecosystems. 

  • Develop applications (platforms and apps) around wearable devices to help increase customer engagement. 

  • Integrate these devices with existing technological pillars to deliver a more satisfying customer experiences at every touchpoint. 
By supporting wearable technologies in the workplace, organizations can empower both employees and customers to more effectively interact in the increasingly connected world. 

For a deeper look into the scope of wearable technologies, key drivers and specific use-cases for wearables in the banking, real estate, telecom, hotel, high-tech engineering and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, read our whitepaper Wearable Devices: The Next Big Thing in CRM. Visit Cognizant Business Consulting’s Enterprise Applications Services (EAS) Practice for more.

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