A new trend of “social CRM” is on the rise, offering enhanced consumer experiences through engagement and flexibility.
CRM solutions are developing to reflect the changing needs of today’s users. Social media integration, wearable devices, and Cloud-connectivity allow businesses to gather information on users in more advanced ways than what traditional CRM models promised. Instead of monitoring, devices are engaging. Rather than using data to advertise the most popular products, advertisements are personalized to the exact needs of the consumer. Truly, the future of CRM technology in the contact centre and beyond promises far higher levels of integration and customization.
A New Type of CRM
When it comes to providing CRM solutions, data metric tracking and basic customer service input isn’t enough for the digitally-focused consumer. Companies that fail to meet the expectations of the changing marketplace may quickly fall behind. According to the 2013 Accenture Consumer Pulse Survey, word of mouth and customer feedback across both traditional channels and social media is one of the most impactful sources of information, utilized by 71 percent of customers.
Due to the viral nature of how industry reputation can spread, businesses need to make concerted efforts to differentiate their brand if they want to stay competitive. One of the best ways to do this is to approach customer service as a medium that operates across multiple channels with preemptive solution management.
The concept of an advanced CRM system involves customer service taken to a proactive level that assesses your needs and applies solutions before you ever realized you had a problem. It can also do wonders for brand loyalty and promotion; being able to predictively analyze information and provide real-time benefits to customers shifts the focus of CRM from reactive problem solving to proactive data application.
“Social intelligence” is the term used to describe how devices are being adapted in today’s market. CRM systems aren’t just improving in their technology and their ability to provide proactive support; they’re moving towards fostering communication between groups and increasing the social element of data collection. While not replacing traditional CRM models per se, social CRM is a new way of looking at customer relationship management that focuses more on personalized experiences and interconnectedness across multiple channels.
The goal of social CRM is to increase customer engagement through forums, social media, and other collaborative efforts to gain a better understanding of the emotions and needs of a population. We’re not talking about forcing hundreds of people to take boring surveys; this is about creating a culture of communication and social analysis that provides new marketing opportunities for businesses quick enough to catch on to the trends.
Multi-channel optimization has been a necessity for social media and CRM for a while now, but is more important than ever when trying to design a CRM system with a social focus. This applies to hardware channels such as smart phones and tablet computers, but also to various multimedia channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. The demographics that most frequently utilize social media are connected across numerous channels these days, and your social CRM system should reflect that.
This all comes back to the social CRM goal of customer engagement. Whether it’s through feedback posted on Twitter, discussion of services on your company’s Facebook page, or simple interaction with your agents, making customer engagement a priority is a cornerstone of a successful social CRM solution.
Maximizing Your CRM
Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that improving your CRM experience isn’t as simple as making one or two changes. Social CRM, like all facets of customer service, is multi-factorial in its execution and relies on a complex network of variables to effectively pull it off.
There’s no silver bullet or magic button to turn the tide on a failing CRM system. If you aren’t finding success with your current setup the solution may require an infrastructure overhaul. However, businesses can begin their effort to move towards a more progressive social CRM solution by:
- Creating a culture of communication with customers
- Encouraging feedback and customizing consumer recommendations
- Enhancing the customer experience with proactive support
- Working towards providing support through multiple channels
By adapting your CRM system to meet the needs of an increasingly social-driven world, marketing opportunities become available to enhance the customer experience and boost the versatility of your business. The data is at your fingertips; now it’s just a matter of using it.