Social media has truly revolutionized customer service. Rather than picking up the phone to complain or comment, customers are taking to channels like Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) in droves to express their opinions about the companies with which they do business. A minority of companies were prepared for the social media onslaught. Slapping up a Facebook (News - Alert) page and hoping for the best (like many companies have done) simply isn’t cutting it today.
Social media channels have led to a concept called “social CRM,” an interactive way of incorporating social media into the variety of channels by which customers expect to be serviced. It’s still a foreign concept to many companies, who still view social media as a one-way street.
“If a company uses social media to talk, but not to listen; if it fails to identify and cultivate new and nontraditional influencers in the marketplace; and if it fails to invest in customer delight, relying too much on inertia to keep a customer, then that company will find itself made irrelevant with startling speed," said Salesforce VP Peter Coffee.
Many analysts say that having no social media presence at all is better than having a poorly managed one. Customer complaints left unaddressed in social media could have a stone-into-the-pond ripple effect that will put a noticeable dent in a company’s sales and revenue.
The good news is that both enterprise CRM and call center applications have begun to evolve to better handle social CRM, automating it with best practices that allow companies to be sure they don’t drop any social media balls.
Salesforce.com (News - Alert) is just one of the companies incorporating social CRM into its solution: Microsoft Dynamics is another, according to a recent article on CRM Buyer.
To make the concept even more challenging, at the same time social media is making a big dent in customer-facing organizations, so too are mobile applications, which also need to be addressed. A recent study by Dimension Data (News - Alert) found that fewer than 10 percent of support organizations are truly prepared to deal with social CRM well, and that this figures drops to six percent when it comes to mobile applications.
New customer media have a way of separating the truly world-class organizations from the “me too” companies, and when it comes to social CRM, this has never been more true.