Looking at Social CRM

Is Social Customer Relationship Management or "Social CRM" the "next big thing" in the social media world? The concept is nothing new, (when it comes to brands, what is social media good for if not building and strengthening relationships with customers?) but the best way to find, mine and integrate social media data for CRM is still being debated.

Back in February of 2011, #SocialC20 speaker Michael Tchong of Ubercool explored social CRM in this article wherein he cited the following statistic "26% of respondents said they currently integrate their customers’ social networking information with their existing CRM data, with 72% planning to integrate social networking information into their existing CRM system."

Is your company part of that 26%? Do you think that number has grown since the article was written? With traditional CRM companies like Salesforce embracing the integration of social media data it seems likely.

Today I came across this article on CRM Buyer about the likely effect of Google+ on the social CRM world. I was particularly intrigued by the following quote:

"That's because CRM is still seen at its elemental level as an IT function, and data in social media is still seen just as data -- as in, data to be extracted, processed, filed and used at a later date. It's very easy to remove data from the conversation, and thus the context; doing so minimizes the value of the data and represents a missed opportunity."

Is it possible to find and use that data, while still remaining social and engaged? Or does the very act of seeing social conversations as a source of data for a company get in the way of maintaining an effective social media presence or encouraging a thriving online community? There must be room for both. As the article later went on to say, it's a matter of finding a CRM software for monitoring conversations, but relying on a human to know how to use and react to the data.
"The human's role will be to shoot for customer satisfaction, build customer knowledge, and boost the brand of the business; the technology can then collect data as a useful by-product of what the human's trying to do."

If you're interested in learning more about the Social CRM world, consider joining IIR for the Social Media CRM Symposium at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. You can view ongoing coverage of the conference as details develop on the Customer's 1st blog here or by following @TotalCustomer on twitter.


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