Buyer’s Guide: Social networking adds another layer to CRM practices

From the way social networking is often reported in the media, it would seem to be that traditional customer relationship management (CRM) has had its day, and all companies need to do is to create a Twitter account and a Facebook page and engage prospects and customers through these. However, it is not quite as simple as that, and the devil – as always – is in the detail.

As with any new technology, the social network does not push away everything that has gone on before. Companies still receive paper mail, telephone calls, e-mails, web contacts and so on. All social networks do is add to that complexity. Any business user of social media must ensure they view the total picture of any individual or group across all of these touch points.

Social media users can be your greatest asset – or your greatest enemy. A happy customer who passes the word on in the social network can rapidly extend positive brand awareness. An unhappy customer is far more likely to pass on their views, though. However, if you identify their problem rapidly and deal with it effectively, they may turn to being positive. But, without everything being integrated, it is far more likely the customer will end up even more unhappy, and the company’s brand enters into a downward spiral that is difficult to halt.

So ensure you discuss Social media with your current or future CRM suppliers to ensure they are offering you an integrated solution to cover all the social bases.

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