With hundreds of millions of people accessing the variety of online social networks, the world’s ability to connect and share is limitless. From a business standpoint, being able to enter the informal networks that prospective, past and present clients reside in has allowed companies to create a customer experience like never before.
So what does this mean for customer relationship management (CRM)? How has the social media phenomenon changed the way companies interact with customers? This blog will explore some of the possible impacts in attempt to uncover the impact social media has on CRM.
I pointed out in my last blog, The Future of CRM Software, that the rapid growth and popularity of social media has fuelled CRM vendors to integrate their software with a variety of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In fact, some companies actively seeking CRM software make social media integration a prerequisite. Why is this so? Well for one, companies like how social media allows for them to enter their customer’s social networks and connect with them in an informal way. For another, social media is its own lead generation machine.
At Luxor CRM, over half of our inbound lead generation is accomplished with the use of Twitter alone. We find social media websites like Twitter to be extremely effective because we are able to access a social network that spans across the globe. Within this network, individuals freely express their thoughts and opinions and more importantly, their curiousity and interest in products and services. A company is able to gather detailed information on their audience’s buying behaviours and preferences as well what their specific requirements and needs are. Similar to a CRM solution, social media is only as effective as the strategy that guides it. It is therefore imperative for companies to create a strategy to best listen and respond to their customers so to ensure that their company and brand is positively represented. With the right approach and some valuable content, companies can effectively capture the attention of their target audience and convert them into customers.
The Growth of Customer Centricity
The growth of social media has consequently resulted in the growth of more customer centric companies. Social media is all about the individual and their ability to share and connect freely online. This simple fact has caused companies to adopt a more customer-centric focus.
With social media in place, satisfying the customer is no longer a matter of how much money you invest but instead how much time, patience and knowledge you offer the customer. Social media stimulates companies to interact with their customers, listen to their specific wants and needs and better tailor their product or service offerings. Not only does this create a unique customer experience, but it simultaneously transforms the company’s vision and mission to be centred on the customer.
This shift in focus results in a shift in content. Within the social cloud, individuals do not care to read about companies promoting themselves, but instead actively seek those companies that provide them with value. The more value a company provides, the more customer relationships they build and therefore the more successful they become. This growth of more customer-centric companies as a result of social media has also fostered a new wave of customer service; one that is all about creating a long-term partnership with the customer, not just a business deal.
Lead Generation and the development of customer-centric companies are only two of the many impacts social media has had on CRM. As long as a company’s social media efforts are accompanied by content that is as interesting as it is valuable, they will see a transformation in their customer relationship management.