What is Social CRM? Benefits, impact and processes.
Social CRM, a social way of thinking about customer relationship management and engagement that focuses on using social media to enhance customer experience. Social CRM is still in its early days but customers are fundamentally changing the dynamics of the marketplace. The holy grail of social media is to engage with the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.
Social CRM is the logical extension of traditional CRM solutions, where the focus shifts from managing customers to engaging continuously with them in a multi touch-point scenario. Traditional CRM solutions manage inside-out one-to-one relationships between companies and their customers. The next generation for CRM is Social CRM and is gaining momentum.
In making the transition from CRM to SCRM, companies need to undergo fundamental changes in how they approach the three key areas of marketing, sales and service. Control has shifted to the customer, who has the power to influence others in his or her social network.
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Foundation of Social Media CRM is CRM
The term “Social CRM” is a relatively new and is an integration of the “traditional” CRM models and with the introduction of Web 2.0 there was a drastic change in how people and companies interacted with each other. It maximised communication and addresses the masses using online Communities, Blogs or Wikis. With Internet communication becoming more and more customer centric, the customer is no longer limited to a passive role in his or her relationship with a company. Traditional CRM strategy focuses on management solutions but with Social CRM, these strategies need to consider the dynamics of the community.
Companies have their traditional processes and information systems such as CRM which has its own detailed database pertaining to knowledge about markets, customer information’s. The Internet has become a significant channel for companies to communicate and maintain relationships with their customers. Social CRM has its foundation in customer relationship management (CRM). Over a few decades there has been interest of using CRM in company’s operations in enhancing customer value and, as a result, shareholder value. Traditional CRM strategy focuses on management solutions but with Social CRM, these strategies need to consider the dynamics of the community.
70% of web users are influenced by others’ comments and the visible complaints of
other clients online can play a pivotal role in their purchasing decisions.
IAB and Lighstpeed Research 2014
Benefits of Social CRM
The benefit of CRM is getting better sales and marketing information that improve the ability to target the profitable customers and improve sales force efficiency. Another proposed benefit is that CRM can improve productivity by customising the products and services with the help of targeted market identification.
CRM helps also to enhance customer care by individualised marketing messages and improving the customer service efficiency. CRM is a set of business processes that focus on managing the customer experience, while some CRM practitioners say it is a comprehensive strategy for customer retention.
As a process, CRM includes a knowledge management process as well as an interaction management process. Knowledge management is an company process that is concerned with the creation, storage, retrieval, and application of knowledge. Technological change has transformed our ways to communicate. Old CRM models have been criticised to be too technology oriented and have paid only a little attention to the people using them.
Socialising CRM connect
Social CRM, has the potential to focus on the people and their relationships. The focus has now changed on socialising the old infrastructure of CRM. This means that the focus will be in creating an infrastructure that recognises the value and input of customers, includes the systems required to connect with them and contains new feedback loops.
Social CRM also contains a shift from managing customers to listening and engaging with them. Hence, social CRM includes human interaction and conversations, enabled through cloud based technology platforms and providing customer experience. Companies that are able to successfully capture value through the embrace of social media are not those with great SCRM strategies, but those with great customer strategies. In order for a firm to succeed in the social media universe it has to first identify what its current customers, potential clients expect.
Gartner defines social CRM as:
Social CRM is a business strategy that mutually benefits cloud-based communities and businesses by fostering engagements, while generating opportunities for sales, marketing and customer service. Social CRM applications are used by sales, marketing and customer service organisations to engage customers or prospects along any CRM process. They may engage customers to codevelop new products or services, generate brand awareness, aid information gathering and evaluation decisions, offer price comparisons, assist the selling process, enable peer-to-peer customer support or in marketing support for post purchase dissonance. Social CRM applications have internal- and external-company users, and they can be public or private, outsourced or hosted, and can make connections to independent communities and social networks, such as patient groups or Facebook.
Change in customer behaviour
Searching and researching using websites, blogs, social communities, and forums – the buyer builds a knowledge of both the marketplace and the players therein, way before ever talking to a potential supplier or its sales people. The customers now own the conversations. This fundamental change in customer behaviour has forced companies to adapt social CRM strategies. Customers are already collaborating, sharing reviews, trusting peers in those reviews, sharing information and seeking transparency. Social CRM aims to engage the company in these actions, to create meaningful conversations and valuable relationships with customers.
Social CRM is not a replacement for CRM, it is just an extension of it. Social CRM works best if there is a solid existing CRM foundation, such as a customer database, efficient management of customer information, keeping track of events, management of sales and marketing processes. The importance of CRM groundwork should not be underestimated and previously presented knowledge and interactions processes should be used in social CRM as well.
The fundamental goal of any marketing activity is to increase sales. This is also the main purpose of social CRM. Depending on the specific needs of a company, the sub goals can be lead generation, new channel creation or testing ideas. Also brand equity can be enhanced when using social CRM to improve awareness or creating thought leadership position.
In social CRM, companies must have a centralised system, where the online conversations will link to the existing customer information, helping the employees to continue the dialogue with the customer. By using social CRM, the customers do not have to tell all details about themselves. A company can utilize the information available in social networks or online environments.
Cloud based Social CRM:
Most common cases for marketing, customer service and sales
1. Social CRM for Marketing
Marketing has been the most aggressive adopter of social applications of any department. New uses continue to develop, but the seven most common use cases we have seen to date are:
Idea management: This is engaging a community to share, capture and vote on ideas for the improvement.
New product or service proposition and market research: The use of both open and closed communities for collecting feedback on new products or services before and after their launch to the market.
New product or service launch to market: Understanding, engaging and targeting different segments of a community with a new product or service at the point of launch.
Social campaigns: Tracking, monitoring and utilising community and the strength of relationships for targeting and treatments of different segments of a community (such as influencers) in a campaign.
Social event networking: Creating networking communities of company/customer shared interests before, during and after events.
Public relations (PR): Used for awareness, reputation, crisis management, damage limitation.
Brand/reputation promotion and defence: The use of social- media monitoring tools to promote, develop, strengthen, or defend a product or company brand.
2. Social CRM for Customer Service
We believe that this will be the most innovative area of focus for service organisations during the next five years, with a new set of vendors entering the field from their broader focus on external social software.
Service customer feedback: Customer feedback (survey) tools facilitate forms of feedback: customer complaints, personalised surveys for each community member, forum topic-based surveys/polls, and general satisfaction surveys and comments.
Service listen and respond: This category of social-media monitoring software focuses on the detection of potential support situations voiced in a social environment such as Twitter.
Service process analysis: These tools analyse and report on social service performance. Aspects such as the time to inquiry resolution, the number of posts, the accuracy of responses, and the number of participants are all captured and displayed.
3. Social CRM for Sales
The sales department has been the most conservative customer- facing organisation in terms of investigating and implementing social software innovations. However, social CRM for sales abruptly gained visibility in enterprises during the past year.
Social sales prospecting and research: This category focuses on tools and resources that help salespeople better qualify leads, conduct prospecting activities more efficiently, and become better informed of both accounts and prospects.
Sales social collaboration: This category is concerned with exploiting social software to introduce new methods for internal and external collaboration.
Deploying a social CRM strategy
Start by developing a “social CRM” strategy, supported by technology and business processes and engage customers in a mutually beneficial two-way conversation. We believe businesses should take a structured approach to deploying social CRM. A structured approach involves creating awareness, assessing a company’s maturity, defining the business strategy and finally determining the rollout strategy (see Figure 1 below). Ensure that you establish measurable baselines, while continuing to identify, engage and collaborate with influencers. Businesses should also bear in mind that a move to social CRM be closely monitored.
Assess on where your company stands in the social media scale and analyse communication channels how open they are to feedback. Identify department level involvement with social media and current guidelines as applicable to social media involvement by employees. Determine the social media platforms on which you intend to have a presence. These could vary from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, among others. Identify the right internal marketing tools that will help effectively manage the CRM solution. While rolling out a comprehensive social CRM solution it is imperative to constantly measure results and refine their actions.
Source: Capgemini Analysis
Social CRM, whether viewed as customer relationship management centred around social media or as a social-enabled collaboration engine for businesses to improve team performance, is one of the most important trends in sales and marketing. Integrating social media in to CRM does influence customer service and customer loyalty. An increased opportunity to collect instant feedbacks from customers and insights into their preferences to improve the service offered even further. And customer engagement is the road that leads to collecting that feedback and insights. Customers tend to prefer to engage and communicate more with the company when they are entertained by the content or by the way the company approaches them – in a fun, witty and friendly way. This ultimately leads to customers who come back for more and recommend the services further.
Datanova’a Cloud Social CRM
Our Cloud CRM offers access to the application via Web browser. Your Employees can log in to the CRM system, simultaneously, from any Internet-enabled computer or device. Often, cloud CRM provide users with mobile apps to make it easier to use the CRM on smartphones and tablets.
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About Datanova: Over the last 12 years Datanova has gained a wealth of experience working with various social service providers. All have varying requirements and localised approaches to executing and delivering care. Our collaborative approach to developing our cloud based data systems in conjunction with our end user community means we always evolve our systems with the direct input of the industry. Creators of FlowLogic a Case Management Solution for Social Services CRM.
The Founder of Datanova, a visionary and digital business solution architect with 24 years experience in the rapidly expanding fields of information management systems, data governance and customer focused-strategy. As Director of Datanova, he leads a great team focused on cloud based services and solutions improving a clients business result through enabling a competitive advantage from all their information assets to drive top business imperatives – Christian Krauter, is a recognised expert on analytical applications, CMS, CRM, focused on improving client’s business results through cloud development, information management and data governance.