Any business starts out with a foundation of great customer relationships. You, the seller, connect with people who need your products. By adopting a CRM strategy, you give everyone across your business, including sales, customer service, marketing, and business development, a better way to manage the customer relationships and interactions that drive success, focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth. While CRM software is most commonly used to manage a business-customer relationship, CRM software systems are also used in the same way to manage business contacts, employees, clients, contract wins, and sales leads.
One important aspect of the CRM strategy is the system that compiles the data from a range of different communication channels, like websites, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, and more recently, social media. At that point, the CRM system can serve as a vital nerve center to manage the many connections that happen in a growing business.
CRM in the world of social
The idea of improving relationships with customers by using social media is called social customer relationship management (SCRM). Customer expectations are evolving towards greater interaction and personalization. Traditional channels such as telephone or email are no longer the only channels where conversations between company and customer take place. Social brings a new element into CRM because now instead of just dealing with data and information, we are dealing with conversations and relationships. These conversations and relationships take place not just from company to consumer, but also from consumer to consumer. Think of Twitter as a simple example. You are building relationships with your followers, but you also have the ability to build relationships with and listen to (and engage) customers that are having conversations about you.
Using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs, customers can interact with nearly any company.
Benefits of Social CRM
Whatever approach a business uses when combining CRM and social engagement, there are sure to be tangible benefits. The important thing to remember is how customers view and utilize that combination. By making sure that their Social CRM platform also provides tangible benefits for the consumer, businesses can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with social media. Approaching social media solely as a cost-cutting or marketing tool will have limited benefits and could end up alienating potential customers. Finding the right balance, and allowing customers to manage the flow of information, will reap greater rewards and create more satisfied customers.
Here are some examples of Social CRM in action, as well as its benefits:
A business -- or even a customer -- creates a fan page for your company or product on Facebook. People who like your brand and the way you conduct business will sign up as fans, creating a venue for communication, marketing, and networking.
A business can quickly get information out to users who are interested in the company or its products.
A business can follow conversations about its brand for real-time market data and feedback.
A customer can easily tell a company -- and everyone else -- about their experiences with the company, whether those experiences are good or bad.
Using social media monitoring tools, a business can respond very quickly to negative feedback; attend to customer problems; and maintain, regain or rebuild customer confidence.
A customer can use social networking sites to offer ideas for future products or tweaks to current ones.
Social CRM has had a profound impact on the business landscape. Businesses need to invest in Social CRM to stay competitive. Social CRM isn't just a benefit or a "nice-to-have" feature. It's a necessity for successful business. By leveraging the rich insights of social media, organizations can gain an advantage in productivity, product development, and the ability to build lasting relationships with their clients.