The pressure to get more done and deliver services to customers faster than we ever thought possible is everywhere. Online “speed-to-serve” masters like Amazon and Uber have created a new social contract of instantaneous results. Today, speed is a critical marketing, operations, and customer acquisition issue.

In 2022, Australian organisations will increasingly feel the pressure to respond to a lead in minutes to win the customer. Service levels will be highly accelerated where responding to a customer support question or a fresh lead must be done sufficiently quickly to prevent wait times that can escalate into a poor online review or a lost deal.

Organisational models and technologies must evolve to keep up with increasing customer expectations. Sales, marketing, and service will need to operate as one team. Data must be shared, and data-driven processes, priorities, next steps, and outlooks automated with AI.

Part of the new social contract is that people increasingly prefer to engage digitally and asynchronously rather than talk to a human. In sales, marketing and service, bots will become the front line for “hyper convenient” engagement as a first step before getting routed to a human. Bots will handle tedious tasks and increasingly offload significant amounts of manual, repetitive work so people can be liberated to focus on more inspired, value-added work, while meeting the need for speed in 2022.

2022 will be the year AI breaks through the human trust barrier

Consistent with other regions, Australian marketeers don’t yet trust AI but that will change in 2022. Companies that are still cautious about relying on AI to analyse and automate business processes will work in a “dual mode” of people and AI until they feel confident in AI skills.

2022 is the year where AI will prove its mettle by offering near-term guidance, assisting sales and marketing with recommendations that they can choose to follow. As AI proves to be accurate and helpful trust will be established.

As AI helps companies make better decisions and reduce blind spots and roadblocks, AI’s role in sales, marketing, and service will become welcome and trusted. 

AI will detect and add the best data to your CRM

In 2022, it’s possible that the best data in your CRM will be the data you didn’t enter.

The accuracy of the data that companies have in their CRM systems diminishes over time. Industry studies show that accuracy degrades by approximately 30% each year. It’s incumbent on users to properly enter and maintain data to keep it fresh. That dichotomy represents one of the most fundamental challenges in CRM – the more data you enter, the less time you can spend making use of it, and the less likely it will all be accurate, since it ages at an alarmingly fast rate.

Organisations will leverage AI more in 2022, to help solve this problem. AI will reach inside and outside your organisation to automatically find massive amounts of pertinent information and deliver it to your CRM, eliminating data entry and extending the half-life of your data by automatically keeping it up to date.

Investments in AI will accelerate digital transformation and customer experience efforts and help Australian organisations to stay competitive. As customers and the entire supply and support chain are pushed to deliver more services faster than ever before, accelerating, and assistive technologies like AI will enable people to do more and deliver favourable customer outcomes faster, helping to acquire more customers and ensure their ongoing loyalty.

Rich Green is chief product officer and chief technology officer at SugarCRM.