With enhanced participation of marketing through the social media platforms, there has been an increase in technology related spending by marketing departments in an organization. A large part of this has to do with implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems that incorporate various social media platforms for marketing communication. This can be termed as Social CRM.
Small business and start-ups with limited technology budgets have greatly benefitted from this. Social CRM is now being actively implemented by all organizations, big or small. It is being used to incorporate marketing strategies that are the best, current, affordable, and prone to limited errors. This is a paradigm shift from the regular CRM systems (with a series of errors) that have been implemented so far.
The traditional CRM system has made a tremendous contribution to businesses in its own way. It has assisted in managing and developing customer relationships, lowering cost, enhancing profitability, offering tailor-made customized product and service offerings, handling customer complaints, queries, and applying analytics to customer data for creating a win-win situation for businesses and customers. However, there have been drawbacks too.
The above mentioned benefits pertain to an accurately implemented CRM strategy. A poorly implemented CRM program is one that aims to manoeuvre customer thoughts by being overtly personal. Another example is a CRM that aims to reduce operating costs by limiting human connect and replaces a human with an answering machine who never really solves a complaint. Cases where user analytics on buying behavior (in case of an e-commerce website) are incorrectly applied to make inappropriate suggestions to customers, or have a high level of promotional activity aimed at customer conversion, have instead of managing a relationship with customers actually annoyed them to the level of even severing a relationship.
Changed Dimension of CRM
Today, customers demand a relationship that is slow paced, insightful, and responsive. Customers appreciate a relationship that develops over time and is based on trust. Information analytics should be used wisely. Focussing too much on what the customer bought prevents concentration on the actual needs for making the purchase. Treating a customer as a data source prevents a marketer from being empathetic, responsive and perceptive of a customer's actual requirements – the very issue with a traditionally executed CRM.
Social CRM is a complementary addition to traditional CRM packages. More than 74 percent of online American adults are using social networking websites (as per Pew Internet Project's research as of Jan, 2014) to exchange views on brands, customer service, and personal experiences with businesses. Thus, there has been an increase in power for the hands of consumers in regard to the business. The coverage and power of social media has added a special element to CRM which not only covers the customers but also the companies.
How can businesses leverage this enhanced presence of social media to their advantage? The answer is: by relying on the power of two-way, healthy communication that involves the customer and the company. Communication is more of listening than talking. Listen to your customers more and respond gently instead of solely focussing on pitching. Making use of Social CRM tools can open the gates of two-way communication. The faster an organization incorporates social CRM tools to its existing CRM strategy, the more effective its customer relationship strategy will become.
With a changed landscape in CRM with enhanced reach and scope of social media as a platform to communicate across markets, time zones, and country borders, CRM cannot remain single sided. Companies can manage their relationship with current, new, and even untapped customers through the powerful social CRM tools. CRM can enhance the level of trust and focus on effective brand building strategies in the market. The fine balance of relationship can be restored and re-invented through social CRM. Businesses that are proactive understand that if they concentrate on the equilibrium of relationships, customers practically manage themselves.