Just Talk or Something More – CRM Goes Social

A new trend is emerging – customer relationship management (CRM) is going social.  CRM is no longer just about sending invoices in a timely fashion, and having a billing department to answer questions.  With the rise of social media, CRM has been elevated.  CRM is now about being in touch with the customer – understanding their needs, and understanding how you (as the seller) appear in their eyes.  CRM and brand management are now more closely tied than ever.  Poor CRM can quickly lead to a degrading brand name.

Companies are catching on to this trend – quickly creating Twitter and Facebook accounts so that they are better connected with their customer base.  Marketing specialists are wondering, is all this effort worth it?  Some companies have resources dedicated to monitoring and creating Twitter feeds regarding their company.  Is there true ROI in doing that?  Or is this just a trend?

There are some real life examples that are showing this is not simply a trend.  Heavily engaging in social media is indeed a valuable and effective way to stay in touch with your customer base.  A great example is a cable company that have dedicated resources to manage their Twitter feed.  Executives caught wind that a few disgruntled customers were bashing the company all over Twitter.  So they hired a few people to do one thing – search for the company name on Twitter and monitor all Tweets containing the company name.  If the Tweets were negative, the Twitter specialist would immediately intervene and interact with the disgruntled customer.  They would even answer technical questions if the customer had one.  They were there to make the customer happy and keep the good vibes flowing.  Since then, this company’s reputation has been repaired tremendously, at least among the Twitter community (which certainly isn’t small).

Millions of people around the world are engaged in social media.  On top of that, the people that are the most engaged are the real talkers, the ones with a lot of friends who influence a lot of people.  These are the people that companies certainly want to gain as allies.  Ignoring the tools that social media provides to engage these people, and monitor public perception, is most likely not a good idea.

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