I recently re-read the book and indeed he was extremely forward thinking. Sometimes we forget that some of the technology that we just use and take for granted just was not there a few years ago.
With the release of Microsoft CRM this week, brimming with lots of new functionality I thought it might be fun to put on a set of futurist glasses and like Wolfgang pop the bubble of convention and take a view of just one little aspect of where CRM may take us in the future.
I call it Collaborative CRM.
Imagine companies working together and using a common CRM system to serve the customer better. A paint company and a paintbrush manufacturer have the same customer base. This would require collaborative data, synergistic processes however it is infinitely doable.
Couple this to visual monitoring of shoppers, cameras at various levels in the store monitoring your every move all aimed at effectively predicting shopping patterns, and GPS data understanding your location. This is where big data meets visual cue inputs, predictive analysis, sophisticated integration, the fabled IoT and a high degree of data science.
I suspect that the ability to remain anonymous as a shopper will slowly disappear as has cash in many societies where all transactions are mostly electronic. Therefore if I go back to my initial point about the sharing of data consider this scenario:
If the bank, the mall owners, the stores within the mall, your mobile provider, the service company who services your tools and the GPS in your car are all sharing data on a common CRM platform, they will know where you are, how much money you have to spend, what you normally like buying, when you last bought specific products and they can effectively market to you using customised content.
It could work like this, you make use of voice recognition (Cortana) at store level as you enter the store ask your phone or a digital sales assistant robot where the product is and a small hovering drone quadcopter displaying your name on a led display leads you to the shelf where the products can be found and to a personalised display based on detailed analysis of your previous purchases and what you have asked for on this occasion.
If last time you had bought an electric drill, for example, and are now looking for a concrete drill bit, a personalised video shows up on a small screen on the shelf showing the benefits of different types of masonry bits.
This video is optimised for your vision as the system knows that you are short sighted and recently purchased bi-focal glasses from an optician in the mall.
The system has also seen that you spent a few minutes looking at a chainsaw on the way out, the data knows that you have a hedge as you previously bought a hedge trimmer, and recently had it serviced where it showed a high degree of wear and tear in a short space of time. Effectively the system could determine that this hedge really needs cutting with a chainsaw, a local store demonstrator turns up at your house to do a demo.
The product he brings with him is the one that you picked up in the store.
The system is also aware that you are not shopping with your partner, and that your buying patterns are completely different when you are out as a couple, and therefore the marketing approach is altered to cater for these circumstances.
All of this technology is here and available right now. Bolting it together into a comprehensive system is what is a little futuristic. I can hear a few dissenters among my readers, all probably thinking that I too am barking mad.