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The Future of Contact Management: Predictions and Innovations

Contacts+ Team | November 22, 2023

In contact management, we’ve almost fully moved beyond the old-fashioned address book, Rolodex, and the executive’s burned-out personal assistant running in a hundred directions to book and reschedule appointments. 

But even with the advancements we’ve seen so far, there are certain to be even more innovations as culture and technology progresses. Here are our top predictions for what’s to come in 2024 and beyond in the contact management space.

Personalization and Automation Driven by AI and ML

It seems no industry is untouched by the changes brought about by AI and ML, and contact management is no exception. Many of these advancements are already underway. For example, contact organization, data enrichment, lead scoring, and predictive analytics are all shaped and powered in some form by AI. 

But in the future, we’re expecting even more AI-driven personalization and automation, making it easier to manage larger and more complex social and customer networks. AI and ML will also make it easier to predict which contacts are most likely to interact or make a purchase using sentiment analysis and other advanced algorithms. And before you make the assumption that your contacts don’t want you to serve them personalized content, think again: according to McKinsey, 71% of consumers actually expect personalization when interacting with brands — and even more are disappointed when they don’t get it.

Secure Data Transmission Through Blockchain

Blockchain tech is at the heart of many modern banking security features — and it also boasts powerful potential for the contact management industry. By decentralizing identity management and contact verification, blockchain tech keeps contact data safer and prevents data breaches. This ultimately makes it easier and more secure to share contact info and collaborate with others.

Synthesis With the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us. Many businesses and individuals are already syncing contact management software to wearables and other devices. As IoT advances, businesses will be capable of knowing more about their customers’ behavior in different environments, generating data that can be synced with CRM systems to improve marketing and customer engagement.

Virtual and Augmented Reality for Enhanced Collaboration

VR and AR have already changed the way we interact both digitally and in real life. We predict that AR and VR will continue to play a creative role in interpersonal relations: think immersive team collaboration, teambuilding, virtual client meetings, networking events, and even AR overlays during real-time interactions. Although there are some very practical use cases for VR and AR (like data visualization, for example), we predict that AR/VR is going to bring a lot more fun into rote situations.

Omni-Channel Contact Management

Social media, email, phone calls, and other apps: we have a lot of choices in regards to how and where we want to keep in touch with our friends and favorite companies. While these choices can be liberating, they can also make contact management very confusing. 

Over time, we expect to see more seamless integration of contact data across different channels, in addition to more solutions that offer a centralized “hub” where you can design and manage consistent omnichannel customer experiences. 

One benefit of omnichannel contact management from a central location is that you’ll always have access to the most recent and relevant information about your contacts. “Social CRM” refers to an increasing trend in which contacts’ social media channels are integrated with the CRM to give an even more complete picture of a contact’s personality and preferences. As newer social media channels evolve and emerge (TikTok, Threads), CRM software will have to adjust to sync with these channels, too.

And we’ll add it’s worth it to put in the effort. Companies that engage with customers on multiple channels see massive customer retention compared to those that don’t.

Voice Technology Advancements in Contact Management

Voice technology is becoming more widespread every day. Voice-activated contact search and management makes it easier to find and keep up with your contacts on the go — while driving, walking, or simply moving around your office. AI-driven voice assistants offer natural language interaction with contact data, so you don’t have to memorize strict commands to call, text, email, or otherwise communicate with others. We’re also seeing an evolution in voice biometrics, which is empowering users to more securely access and authenticate contact data.

Increasing Privacy and Ethics Concerns

As privacy and data ethics continue to be a concern in the tech world, we’re predicting that contact management will see changes in this area, too. More tech companies will likely be addressing the ethical considerations that come from AI-driven data processing and personalization — many algorithms have already been called out as sexist, racist, or otherwise biased. Future contact management solutions will also have to comply with evolving data protection regulations and user consent requirements, and new tech companies will need to design their solutions with a privacy-first mentality.

Focus on Remote and Distributed Workforces

Contact management solutions will need to be optimized for remote and flexible work arrangements as post-COVID businesses continue to offer hybrid work situations. There will need to be cloud-based accessibility for any time, anywhere, contact data management, as well as collaboration tools and features tailored to virtual teams.

The Rise of the Personal CRM

CRM software has been a must-have for businesses over the last several years, but the notion of a personal CRM for individual networking may be a newer one. As people are growing their contact lists and making connections with a broader array of people (on more channels than ever), they’re looking for ways to stay organized while maximizing potential opportunities

CRM software is the perfect solution for many individual users. By taking some of the best practices from the business CRM world, individuals can personalize, automate, and manage vast lists of contacts without having to spend arduous hours tracking down contact information and crafting messages. With most modern CRMs offering user-friendly interfaces and inexpensive or free basic plans, this low barrier to entry means more people will be adopting this technology as we move beyond 2024.