CRM is a technology based framework used by companies of all sizes and by several departments: sales, marketing and support departments. When used by sales, CRM is also referred to as SFA (Sales Force Automation). The first generation of CRM focuses heavily on data, task and transaction management. CRM was, and is, internally focused, with an emphasis on specific processes, and optimization of those processes. Among the issues CRM faces is that the value to the end user is limited. User adoption is also limited, in part because of this inward focus of the solution.
Social CRM or popularly known as SCRM is an extension of CRM, not a replacement, and among the important benefits is that it adds value back to the users (increased adoption) and your customers. It is the one part of the social business strategy that addresses how companies need to adapt to the social customer and the expectations these customers have with respect to companies they do business with. With a focus on strategy, customer engagement and relationships, Social CRM moves beyond management of customers, transactions, and money.
Social CRM is a customer engagement strategy in support of your defined goals and objectives towards optimizing the customer experience. Success requires focus on people, process and technology associated with customer touch points and interactions. Customers are choosing how they want to interact with companies and companiesâ€™ brands, and this poses a challenge; a challenge of data volume dynamic channels and elevated expectations. The social customer is vested and participatory, and has active involvement within the business ecosystem, not just as purchasers, but as advocates and influencers as well. Individuals are influenced by friends, friendsâ€™ friends, and friendsâ€™ friendsâ€™ friends. For Social CRM to be successful, and by extension the businesses who employ the strategy, we must recognize the power of social networks and the impact to your business.
A social network is a group of people tied together by overlapping and intersecting interests. The ecosystem created and lead by your business will therefore be a form of social network. Within this network, one of the most efficient ways for people to interact is to use social media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, aka social media. Therefore, the careful selection and use of social media channels and technologies must be a part of any Social CRM strategy. It’s important to remember that social media is not the only communication channel used. Itâ€™s an important part of SCRM but not the only part. There are plenty of offline or traditional interaction channels that should be utilized to build customer advocacy and relationships between customers and companies. We have to remember that there is still a lot of interaction that occurs between the customer and the company offline or in real life.
Companies today are becoming overwhelmed with the vast amounts of data that customers are sharing about them and feel as though they need to respond to every complaint and every customer contact or request. However, the real value comes from being able to change how your company does business and improving the user experience while building advocacy. Simply responding to as many comments or tweets as possible is senseless and not scalable. A much better solution is to actually fix the problems the customers are identifying and collaborating with your customers to help give them what they want.
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