My ERP Musings

ERP, ERP, some CRM and more ERP

Isn’t it Time to Go Social?

The CRM has taken businesses far in the last few years. It has improved processes, boosted sales and communication efficiencies and bettered our relationships with customers. Anybody in business knows that if you focus on developing good customer relationships that that customer might well spread the news about how brilliant your products and services are, just like everyone in business knows that if a customer receives bad service they’re definitely going to tell everyone they know to avoid your company like the plague. This has never been truer than right now.

The new social centric focus of the internet has created communities that are dedicated, impassioned and not afraid to use the power of their voice to either promote or condemn your product or services. Now more than ever, it is essential for businesses to not only understand the importance of what their customers are saying about them on the internet, but to develop your brands online presence to react to the voices of the online communities that are talking about their products and services.

It isn’t just the big brands that need to concentrate on social either. Sure, the big brands all do it and for the most part they do it incredibly well (there are some goofs, don’t get us wrong but for the most part they do it well), but they don’t have a monopoly in social. Even for the smallest of companies it’s a matter of setting up a Google Alert of your company name and you’ll get any mention sent straight to your inbox and there are plenty of tools that allow you to do the very same on Twitter. Wherever you are in the grand scale of things, from the bottom to the top, engaging in social should be a part of your business model.

Employing a social CRM can ensure that you track any mention of your company or products in real time across the internet. It’s also incredibly effective at allowing you to develop and manage your own online communities. Cultivating and managing a space in which your clients and customers can interact and feed back on your offerings can be incredibly beneficial, and a well constructed community will encourage new business and customers through word of mouth and the spreading of your brand across the community. Increased transparency, real time customer service, customer support and brand and product marketing can help better any business, and social CRM has the power to give you all that and more.

Sure, social works for some niche business sectors, but it isn’t for everyone. Building an engaged online community online might be incredibly difficult for a mid sized plastics manufacturer or a hedge fund; CRM will likely be as effective as it is in any sector for those type of businesses, but perhaps not a social CRM. Social is all about interacting directly with the customer, be it potential, past or current or giving that customer a space with which to interact with your business.

Social CRM has the potential to drive sales and improve not only your interaction with your customers but also your standing on a very public platform. There are plenty of experts out there telling us that social CRM is a flash in the pan, that it isn’t essential. We have to agree, it isn’t essential to any business, but if you ignore it, you might just find yourself losing customers to a business that does.

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