In 2007, George Colony, the CEO of Forrester research, understood the changing CRM landscape and opined: “It’s now a two-way conversation. Listen, respond and talk intelligently. Stop dictating to customers. It’s your customers, not you, who have the power.” One of the leading proponents of Social CRM, Paul Greenberg, believes that CRM 1.0 fails to adequately tackle the demands of the 21st century, which is simply the ‘era of the social customer.’ This is not to say farewell to established CRM 1.0 technologies like Oracle, SAP or Sage, but to state the fact that these platforms would evolve to integrate social monitoring and intelligence platforms, like Salesforce.com did with the acquisition of radiant6.
Below are fifteen predictions about the Social CRM field in 2015
1) More plugins and Integration: In 2015, we are likely going to experience more integration and social plugins for traditional CRM platforms. These CRM 1.0 platforms would take advantage of these plugins to listen and engage more with social conversations, which would help with lead generation. There would be more plugins like the Zoho social for Zoho CRM.
2) More emphasis on engagement than monitoring: Monitoring sounds more like a detective exercise. It makes it sound like a company is expecting something alarming to be linked with her brand on social media. Companies would be more proactive with engagement which Brian Rodgers believes its first step is by identifying the customers. Personalisation is also an important element of engagement, with research showing about 58% of customers that tweet about a bad customer service won’t receive a reply. 2015 would see companies engaging more through a higher and faster rate of replies to customer tweets, comments and reviews.
3) Emotional-rich big data: Big data with big emotions would be big for Social CRM in 2015. Companies would mine big data and also adopt emotional intelligent techniques to understand and engage with their social customers. Kevin Roberts couldn’t have put it much better as he enthused: “Big data needs big emotion, because algorithms will never read and respond to humans the way humans do. It can spit out stories based on what came before, but it can’t dream the difference and feel the empathy that builds billion-dollar loved brands.”
4) More customer hash-tags to help discovery: The hash-tag trend would become more widely used across multiple social and online platforms. Customers want their grievance and experience to be found not just by a company but by potential customers. Mandi Woodruff also advises that, the use of hash-tag increases the chances of companies responding to a tweet or complaint.
5) Insights from collaboration than mere observation: Companies would create more online communities and generate enriching customer insights from collaboration. Companies will understand the need to get out of the side-lines and gain more insights into customers by engaging and collaborating with them.
6) More authentic Social CRM platforms than clones or makeover: Some companies with traditional CRM platforms; easily say they have a Social CRM strategy because of the use of social media accounts. Companies would ensure the adoption and integration of actual Social monitoring platforms on existing CRM software.
7) Building a community before software codes: Companies would be confronted with the need to create online communities or select appropriate social engagement plugins to existing CRM platforms. As they strive to improve their social intelligent capabilities, they would consider the need to creating a collaborative culture between the organization and customers before contemplating on what algorithms or what software language, behind a platform, to go for.
8) More multimedia interaction: With multimedia social media platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, Instagram and a host of others. A Company’s social CRM efforts would not just focus on the text views expressed by customers but also on the picture and micro video conversations they have.
9) Mobile friendly Social CRM platforms: Most Social CRM platforms would have a mobile version or a more dynamic interface. With a higher use of mobile phones and tablets, there would be a greater degree of mobile powered Social CRM platforms.
10) Better understanding of Social CRM and not as a plain old CRM: There would be a better understanding of the concept and practice of Social CRM amongst practitioners. People would understand it is more than social media or a made over CRM platform. There would be more definitions and frameworks on Social CRM.
11) Open communities becoming search engine friendly: Open communities, forums and online review sites, would become More search engine friendly. Typing in queries about a brands’ product, service or location, could load up sites linked to online communities or designated forums.
12) More acquisition of social media intelligence start-ups by big CRM players: In 2011, CRM giant Salesforce.com, acquired social monitoring platform randiant6, which has helped her Exact target marketing cloud. We could see more of these acquisitions in 2015.
13) Time of reply as important as actual reply: The time for which a customer’s query or complaint is replied to, would be as important as the actual reply. Companies would realise how a much longer waiting time in responding to her social customers could impact upon her brand value. Customers would be more impatient in 2015 as they expect quick replies to their complaints or queries.
14) More standalone social CRM platforms: There would be more complete social CRM platforms like salesforce.com (with radiant 6) Microsoft (Microsoft social listening) Oracle (social relationship management suite) and a few others. 2015 would therefore experience more of these complete social CRM platforms.
15) Companies getting overwhelmed with more brand mentions across more social media platforms: There would be more online brand mentions as more customers adopt a plethora of social media platforms, to express their views. Brands would be overwhelmed with more mentions on more social media platforms.
Social CRM is therefore expected to augment and not replace traditional CRM. We are in the age of the social customer and these customers would still control the conversation in 2015. Brands have to adapt and become more socially intelligent to make the best of this conversation.