Overcoming Social CRM Skepticism to Exploit Its Benefits
By Barton Goldenberg
In the past few blog posts, I have described a Social CRM framework, have looked into the value-add and requirements of external and internal-facing Social Media communities, and have made the strong linkage between Social Media communities and Social CRM. In this blog post, I would like to why with you why I feel some executives are still hesitant to jump into Social CRM.
The Social CRM industry is currently a very robust market, with RnR Market Research forecasting the worldwide market of $1.9 billion in 2013 growing to $9 billion+ in 2018. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 36.5% during this 5-year period. What factors account for this continued, impressive growth? There are several key reasons:
- The rising focus on creating meaningful customer engagement
- The continued need to better understand customers’ sentiments
- Acknowledgement that today’s customers overwhelming desire a two-way dialog with the companies they are interested in buying from
- The explosion of Social Media platforms that easily deliver the capability for that two-way dialog
- Recognition that collaborating in real-time helps management at all levels to make more informed decisions
Despite the strong concepts behind Social CRM, many organizations still harbor a good deal of skepticism. For a number of reasons, executives tend to shy away from opening organizations to a healthy two-way customer exchange. Typically, executives voice the following types of concerns:
- What if the customer says malicious things about us?
- What if a disgruntled customer goes viral on us?
- How much resource commitment is required to do Social CRM right?
- The organization has been very successful to date; why fix what is not broken or change the formula now?
A Social CRM Success Formula
To the skeptics who remain open to discussion, I’d point out that Social Media communities – at the core of every successful Social CRM strategy – has become the #1 interactive source for buyers. I’d also note that over 80% of Internet consumers now search online for organization/product information, trusting peer-generated content more than organizational or professional insight. The Social Media revolution isn’t going away, and executive need not be fearful of change. Rather than sit on the sidelines and watch how Social CRM rolls out, I recommend taking a pro-active approach to learn more about Social CRM.
Here’s is a measured, four-step approach to exploit Social CRM benefits:
- Take the time and invest in listening to customers. There are dozens of cost-effective ways to monitor what customers are saying about the organization.
- Build a simple Social Media community to attract customers and prospects and open a two-way dialog.
- Be sure to integrate customer Social Media insights directly into the organization’s Social CRM system, so that all front-line personnel who have access rights gain a holistic or 360 degree view of the customer.
- Leverage new Social CRM processes and tools in sales, marketing, customer service, eBusiness and analytics to help drive new product/service sales.
To any remaining Social CRM skeptics, I ask you to reflect on what Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, said several years ago, “This collaboration that kids got through social networking is the future of business.” And I can add, “Can the organization really wait much longer to successful create and implement of its own Social CRM strategy?”
In my next blog posts, I will discuss the all-important “people/process/technology” mix required for success in your Social CRM efforts.
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Barton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.