Social CRM is traditional Customer Relationship Management evolved. The addition of social media has taken PR, customer service, and customer experience to the next level. Businesses must heed the new dynamic when it comes to Social CRM; the customer is at the center of the relationship and engaging with your business through many different channels.
Social CRM is about converting fans and followers into customers and advocates. As social media continues to evolve, Social CRM, of course, is evolving too; the field is based on the strategy of customer engagement through social media along with tools that help businesses connect and monitor those social interactions.
The Evolution of CRM to Social CRM
Some of the main changes we see within the dynamics of companies that are switching to a more customer-focused social atmosphere include:
- Companies are changing from assigned departments that handled CRM to everyone in the company taking responsibility for Social CRM. Customers expect the same level of service across all departments of an organization. The billing department must be just as customer-service friendly and focused on the customer experience as those departments that handle the main interactions of the business on a regular basis.
- Instead of a company-defined process for customer service, we are changing to a customer-defined process. The customers are choosing the what, when, why, how, and who in the equation and the companies that can adjust to the customers’ preferences are the ones that will succeed with happy and satisfied customers.
- The business hours are no longer 9 to 5; businesses must be ready to answer customers and assist them during the hours that are most convenient for them. Instead of defined channels, we are evolving to a dynamic system of multiple channels chosen by the customers.
- Research how your customers want to connect with you; maybe they browse online but call to place the order. Make it easy and accommodate customers in any channel or method they choose.
- Transactions have evolved to interactions. Companies that give the customer an “experience” rather than a “transaction” will be remembered and the customers will keep coming back.
Some interesting facts about Social CRM:
- Three most influential factors for consumers when deciding which company to do business with are:
- Personal experience
- Company’s reputation or brand
- Recommendations from friends and family
- Many consumers also expect to be able to use a company’s social media sites to resolve customer service issues.
Today’s customer does not pay attention to advertising, instead they choose which companies and brands they want to engage with and seek out the information about those businesses. Paul Greenberg, author and well-known expert on Social CRM, defines it as “the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.” Instead of listening to commercials, customers are engaging through social media and absorbing information published by businesses. Therefore, businesses must participate in that conversation with customers rather than at them.
What should businesses do to make the most of Social CRM?
- Embrace the idea that consumers are seeking information and engage with them; provide the information your customers are looking for. This might be in the form of blogs, product data, how-to videos. Find engaging content on which your company is an authority and your customers will rely on you for that information, which will keep you in the minds of the consumers and they will share your information with others.
- Listen to your customers. Conduct studies to better understand what you customers want. Evaluate the motive behind why customers purchase from you. That gives you the key to unlocking continued success and enables you to continue to serve customers and stay on top of trends and innovation while allowing you to provide excellent service. If the music industry had realized long ago that the core motivation of its consumers was not to buy a silver disc, but to listen to music, the industry might have better evolved and sustained the digital revolution the way that Apple did with the iPod.
- Social CRM tools help you connect and monitor conversations with the immediacy necessary, as well as keep up with social media best practices for business. Here are some popular CRM Tools:
- Kony Mobile CRM – An application that includes reporting, charting and data visualization to help your sales force close sales right from their mobile devices. It keeps them connected on the go.
- Radian 6 – This tool monitors the web for mentions of keywords of your choosing that represent your brand or industry. The data collected can then be used to track online conversations, feedback, and sentiment.
- Socialtext – This is a monitoring tool that helps enable internal collaboration within an organization. After collected social mentions, the information can then be disseminated to the proper person to quickly answer the customer.
- Batchbook by Batchblue – This is a great resource for smaller companies and helps them create strong customer relationships. It monitors the social web and tracks conversations and sentiment. Batchbook integrates directly with social media, so it lets you instantly post to Facebook and Twitter, even retweet or reply. The tool also pulls in RSS feeds from blogs and connects to several mail services and applications.
- Nible – This tool also helps organizations build stronger relationships with their customers through social and interactive sources. It centralizes points of contact and communication by merging information from Google, IMPA, Skype, and social channels together in one place.
- OmniSocial by Mzinga – Software that accesses the 15,000+ communities that Mzinga supports worldwide. OmniSocial is an enterprise class SaaS based software suite that allows companies to create, manage, and track social channels with knowledge and also incorporates sharing experiences.
- Yammer – Connects employees, partners, and customers together through social networks and other collaboration channels.
With the power of social media and how you use social media for your business, social CRM is absolutely essential for your business’s continued success. It critical that you recognize and cherish your relationships with customers and constantly strive to do everything in your power to keep them happy at all times.
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Brian Lakeman is author and Brand Manager for Activ8me, Australia's leading NBN Satellite provider. His writing experience is primarily online in the form of blogging, he contributes to numerous websites in the internet and computer industries. Brian's capacity as Brand Manager allows him to explore various marketing avenues for Activ8me, all over the world. You can find him on Twitter and Google Plus.
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