Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has always maintained that the ‘customer is king’. However, this approach has been extremely linear, as it’s traditionally involved one-way communication between the company and consumer (SocialMediaExaminer.com). CRM’s focus has largely been on demographics and transactions, with the aim of selling a product to a passive, segmented consumer. Social CRM (SCRM) takes it a step further: the customer is still king, but instead of just targeting and selling, the consumer is not simply a customer but also a collaborator. According to SocialMediaExaminer.com, Social CRM is an evolution of CRM that empowers consumers and turns them into advocates. This translates into strong brand loyalty and word-of-mouth within the consumer’s networks (both on and offline).
Here’s what your business needs to know about SCRM.
SCRM isn’t only about social networks
According to JmorganMarketing.com, many companies are under the impression that successful SCRM means that they need to answer every single customer query on their Twitter stream. Although today’s digital consumers expect instant service, realistically, this just isn’t possible most of the time. JmorganMarketing.com states that consumer issues shouldn’t be about a lack of online customer support; they should be about the actual product or service. If customers bring the same problems to your attention, then something needs to be done – and fast.
Companies need to collaborate with consumers to find out what they want and need, and how best they can improve a service. SCRM shouldn’t only be about trouble-shooting and crisis management; it should also be about consumer engagement.
Consumers are savvy: they’re part of wider networks
Consumers no longer fall for old marketing ploys like direct mail or aggressive advertising. They’re able to research a product or service online, without ever stepping into a shop or dealing with a pushy salesperson. Buying has become a very personal and multi-faceted experience. According to SocialMediaExaminer.com, there are always three factors that help determine whether a consumer will buy a product or not:
1) Whether the brand/consumer experience is personalised and focused on the individual
2) The company’s reputation or brand identity
3) And by word-of-mouth.
The last factor is possibly the most important, as SCRM takes into account that consumers are now part of wider networks (both on and offline), and that the company is not the centre of these networks, but merely a part of them (WimRampen.com).
SCRM is about respect
Traditional CRM deals with demographics and segmentation, targeting the consumer based on factors such as age, occupation and gender. SCRM has expanded this idea, as the digital age has resulted in consumers being segmented according to less strictly defined targets, such as shared common interests and on/offline communities (WimRampen.com). SCRM taps into these networks, and enables a deeper understanding of the consumer. It takes the customer’s needs and wants into consideration, not the company’s. Furthermore, today’s social customers don’t take kindly to bad service or blatant marketing. Instead, they want options; they don’t want to feel like just another transaction. SCRM understands that a customer’s opinion matters, and that, ultimately, they’re respected as individuals.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Written by Ang Lloyd on behalf of Dynamics Careers, a niche jobs portal that advertises Microsoft Dynamics jobs, including AX development, for those who specialise in software development, such as that which helps businesses manage their social CRM.