Getting social with the customer: What is “Social CRM”? #scrm

22/03/2011 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Getting social with the customer: What is “Social CRM”?

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By: NMK Created on: March 19th, 2011
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The role the customer plays in corporations is changing fast and their influence is growing like never before. The subject of customer relationship management over social media was discussed at length at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising expo recently. New Media Knowledge went along to learn more. By Chris Lee.

By Chris Lee

The Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) expo is a massive feature on the UK internet marketing calendar and NMK went along to Earl’s Court in London to hear a fascinating debate as to the future of customer relationship management (CRM) and, in particular “Social CRM”. Social CRM focuses on how companies can – and sometimes are already – relating to customers via social networks.

A round table debate brought together a number of leading lights on the subject of why Social CRM matters and how organisations should be engaging with customers over social media.

Data mining

For Ian Hendry of online new business network We Can do Biz, Social CRM matters because people are making comments and recommendations in public via social media, often sharing views and information that they would not usually share with a company – even when asked to.

“There is a wealth of data on the Web around the customer,” Hendry told delegates, citing Twitter’s 185 million-strong user base. “A lot of it is rubbish but a fair chunk is useful.”

The key challenge for organisations is to mine that data effectively.

“The most powerful customer now is not the one who buys the most but who can reach the most people,” he argued.

Understand the customer

Graham Hill from consultant group Optima Partners said there is often a misconception within organisations that Social CRM is a technology issue, when actually technology is simply the enabler.

“All those capabilities we currently use for CRM we need for Social CRM too,” Hill said. “It’s more than a load of channels; it’s a way to interact.”

Hill said that organisations needed to understand the customer and their journey, the outcomes and what they wanted to achieve.

“The job is to provide [the customer] with better tools,” he argued. “We used to do things to the customer, then for the customer and now we do things with the customer.”

Fellow consultant Laurence Buchanan -head of CRM and Social CRM at Capgemini – agreed, stating that the true meaning of Social CRM should be about building long-term win-win situations for both companies and customers.

Changing channels

Organisations need to be aware that customers operate on the channels they feel most comfortable with and need to monitor and respond to them accordingly, said Heather Taylor, formerly social media manager at mobile network GiffGaff.

Taylor said GiffGaff enjoyed good customer relations because it gave its users a sense of ownership.

“The company was theirs as much as it was ours,” she said.

So what’s the key to good Social CRM in Taylor’s opinion?

“Put procedures in place for those on the front line to get things fixed,” Taylor concluded. “Unless you give them help [those problems will] continue to happen.”

Computer company Dell is an interesting case in point, having recently launched its “Social Media Command Center” to help deal with customer issues that arise over social networks. NMK recently interviewed Dell on the launch, which you can read here.

Good write up of the session I did at TFM&A a couple of weeks ago by Chris Lee. Original article linked above (on a rather messy web page!).

Have you got comething to say about Social CRM? Just add your throughts below — we’d love to read them.

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Four exciting new UK web ventures pitching for funding later this month — share your thoughts New WeCanDo.Biz Social CRM on its way! Get a sneak peek… #scrm

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