Customer Relationship Management and the Social Media

No one will make the argument that social networking via social media has not forever altered the means that people communicate and connect. These impressive new technologies are being internalized by individuals in every country of the world who represent all age groups. Because of this fact, an entirely new and different audience can be reached by any person who possesses email and access to the Internet. In particular where companies are concerned, this phenomenon of social networking has dramatically transformed the means that they engage with their clients, as well as with potential new customers.

Because of this, the makers of Internet based CRM, or customer relationship management, software programs have striven to work in such new technologies and networks into their own packages. They have employed the powers inherent in the computing cloud to both link up and integrate typical customer relationship management tools to websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others. This has led to the development of the concept which has come to be called SCRM, or Social Customer Relationship Management. Such communities do more than simply offer a different means of getting in touch with an audience . They also aid in offering real insight into the customers’ dislikes, likes, lives, desires, and needs, as well as in assisting with making connections to potential new clients.

This is accomplished in a variety of ways. For one, customer relationship management uses social extensions. The sales people demonstrate an approach to the social aspect of the CRM in carrying this stream into the already extant processes. Extending these current processes to incorporate social media channels is a helpful starting point.

Another way that the social concept is put into the customer relationship management process is through social support communities. A terrific example of a firm that delivers products this way is Helpstream. This involves a powerful concentration on the support channel whereby customers are allowed to co-create solutions for support alongside the company. It furthermore allows for the business to realize cost savings, since the firm is capable of cutting back on the quantity of customer support and transfer of knowledge in which the company must engage.

A third means of integrating the social side and customer relationship management solutions together is through the use of social business aggregators. Gist is a good example of the ways that social media platforms can be effectively integrated into the software, ranging from Twitter and Facebook on to traditional email. This offers a crystal clear snap shot of the customers and their interests.

A last platform for merging social media interests and customer relationship management strategies involves market engagement solutions. These represent tools that effectively bring in all participants to the market place. They do this to help co-create value for everyone, on all fronts of business, and not simply in the field of customer support. Ebay is a classic example of this category.

As mentioned above, there are two social media outlets which are especially useful in effectively incorporating social customer relationship management. These are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is a useful community of individuals who get together to share the daily details of their lives with so called followers. Its applications for businesses are twofold. On the one hand, business can easily communicate directly with the users of their products who are able to get in touch with them in the community. On the other hand, a business can use its Twitter account to offer promotions and advertise specials to its followers.

Facebook is a second helpful social media outlet for business to harness with their CRM efforts. At no cost to the business, a profile page can be developed and set up in order to share with the fans why its firm is the best one with which to do business. Product videos, logos, pictures, and customer testimonials can all be put up on the profile page. Friends can be added easily using Facebook, which allows the company to constantly expand its range of potential customers. Finally, information and valuable feedback can be easily obtained from Facebook fans by utilizing the polls to obtain opinions and information rapidly from real customers. Such knowledge can prove to be extremely helpful in pondering decisions about the company and its associated products’ future.

1 Comment for this entry

September 20th, 2010 on 7:56 pm

Good article. No doubt social networking is redefining how businesses do business. CRM Vendors are developing applications to engage with customers in more efficient ways. Intelestream is about to unveil intelesocial, which integrates LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and more with the online CRM, intelecrm. We have also recently published a whitepaper that defines the concept of Social CRM, offers strategies that can help organizations better leverage social networking as part of their overall customer management strategy, and outlines steps that businesses can take to develop a tangible integration between social networking and traditional Customer Relationship Management. The paper can be read at Intelestream’s web page.