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Social CRM: Communication Redefined!
Social CRM has been generating a lot of buzz lately. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has taken on a whole new meaning in this ever-changing social media landscape. What exactly is social CRM? In the words of social CRM expert and bestselling author, Paul Greenberg, “Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes, and social characteristics designed to engage a customer in a collaborative conversation to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.”
What is Social CRM?
Social CRM is all about putting customers first. It is about reaching your brand advocates, engaging with them and responding to them at the right time. With the social element added to CRM, social CRM is no more about data and information, rather it is about conversations and bonding. It is not only an interaction between the customers and the companies but also between different customers. For this to happen smoothly, organizations essentially need to adopt and incorporate digital practices into their business functions.
Who Benefits from Social CRM?
Moving on to the question, who stands to benefit from social CRM? Different business areas, such as the sales department, product development teams, customer service teams, and marketing teams can all benefit from social CRM platforms and applications. Social CRM can assist in following customer trends, chalk out and manage different campaigns, and in general, gain better insight into the social minds of the customers. For an organization as a whole, social CRM can expand the reach of businesses, improve marketing ROI, strengthen marketing and client relations, and explore new market segments. Any good social CRM platform should support social media platforms (it is social CRM!), enable brand monitoring, and offer social CRM analytics tool.
Social CRM – The Road Ahead
How do organizations transform themselves into a social CRM enterprise? Change does not take place overnight. Organizations are large with pre- and well-defined cultures; breaking such practices is not easy. Organizations first need to lay the groundwork for change. However, it is also important for the organizations to change the way they do business. Social CRM is all about communication, hence embracing the shift in culture is essential. Nothing will thrive, if the culture isn’t right!
Getting started involves four steps:
- Know your audience. Identify audience and gather information on what they want and how they feel about your brand.
- Develop a strategy focused on how to engage with them. The strategy should be a balance of what they want and what can be realistically offered.
- Ensure that programs and processes need to be in place. Social CRM programs should focus on strategic outcomes. Once the program is in place, the processes are guided. They can be either modified or discarded depending on how they impact and enhance the experience of the audience.
- Get tech support. As much as culture change is the basic principle of social CRM, having appropriate tech support is also of utmost importance. Any new business strategy or philosophy is difficult to implement without the aid of proper tech support.
There are numerous social CRM tools and applications available today that can be leveraged to one’s advantage. Using an advanced tool that aligns all customer-facing divisions will go a long way in improving your social CRM strategy. Similarly, switching to cloud CRM rather than on-premise CRM will prove to be beneficial. According to a study by Gartner, in 2015 more than 50% of the companies will have cloud CRM deployed. Last but not the least, the social CRM platform should be mobile friendly. With increasing use of smartphones and tablets, having a dynamic interface and mobile version of the platform is a must.
Social CRM – The Journey Begins
Welcome to the smarter planet of social CRM. Social CRM presents endless possibilities to connect with brand advocates bringing an onslaught of social rewards. There has been a shift in trust with customers relying more on opinions voiced on a social platform. Thus brands must connect with brand advocates socially, in a way to create goodwill as trust cannot be bought, but has to be earned. In this regard, few things should be kept in mind.
- Keep the message relevant and simple. Synchronize messages across multiple channels with personalized messages tailored for each channel and recipient.
- Give compelling reasons for customers to socially engage with your brand and provide incentives for participation, rewarding them suitably.
- Ignite brand advocacy through easy facilitation of receiving and sharing branded content and promotions. The simpler it is to understand and share the better. Remember, your brand is at stake!
Organizations need to ride this social wave of connectedness to redefine relationship management, increase their reach and beat competition. Businesses across the globe have made major strides in the social CRM space. Change now or fall behind. The message for organizations is loud and clear – Stay Social!
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