Networking in the New Era: CRM and Social Media.
AllThingsCRM writing teams
Friday, 25th December 2009
In today's ever changing business world, it's imperative for companies to stay current in the newest methodologies. 

For customer service, that means utilizing social media to the fullest.  Customer relationship management (CRM) systems store and organize customer information so that it can be accessed in a useful way. 

Companies can use the data to service current customers, and discover new markets of potential customers.  Social media is the next generation of consumer-centric interactions.

Bridging CRMs and social media can produce many benefits:
  • Maximize the quality and quantity of customer interactions –  Meeting customers who are already interested in your company's products and services allows you to utilize your sales representatives' time more effectively.
  • Advance your company's brand and popularity – Reshape the landscape of brand management.  Use this format to increase awareness about your company and to create a presence in new communication channels.  Also, providing excellent customer service is just another way to brand your company, and social media forums offer an easy way to communicate.
  • Open the flow of communication – Handle customer inquires through social networks.  Far too often, simple solutions and misunderstandings go unresolved.   By using social media to easily interact with customers, companies can offer real-time solutions.  In addition, consumers can often track submissions and their statuses.  Both the company and customer can profit from more open lines of communication.
  • Utilize new social media to encourage sales – Generate more leads from friends.  The general public may be more likely to trust a company if they can interact with other customers, as opposed to merely trusting advertising.  Use the social media realm to convert leads to sales.
  • Beat the competition to the punch – Creating new ways to meet customers might give you an edge.  Companies that use several channels to increase their customer base often see a greater return in sales.  The numbers don't always directly relate to social media, but when sales are on the rise, so are profits.
The broad term of social media often relates to how people share, discover, and gain information.  It fuses technology and communities of people.  Such relationships can be very useful for businesses.

Facebook, for example, provides companies a domain to connect with new customers by creating friend lists.  For a business, friends means customers, and once you have accepted a friend, you now have access to their friends too.  Growing customer bases with like-minded people can be very challenging for companies, but Facebook can streamline this difficulty.  Another advantage is joining and creating groups. 

Discussions on these groups offer the potential of interacting with even more probable customers.  This social platform is free, and easy to implement. 

A company can add pictures, customer testimonials, product videos, and even poll its friends.  The opportunities are endless, but most importantly, beneficial.

Another useful social media is Twitter.  Businesses can relay short messages to promote products and services.  Customers are more likely to read quickly to the point bulletins that offer only the really important information. 

Since the messages on Twitter are no more than 140 characters, customer service easily lends itself to social networking.  Companies can respond quickly and accurately to consumer inquiries.

Blogs also offer the business world a way to encourage customer communication.  Customers who feel as if they are being heard are usually much happier.  Having happy customers is the main objective of customer relationship management systems, which is why social networking makes sense.

In general, the new era of social media fosters a culture of consumer participation and co-creation.  Businesses that incorporate customers in the process of reaching commonalities promotes better customer service. 

It is essential for companies to utilize new mediums to encourage communication in ways that have the potential to be beneficial for all parties involved.

AllThingsCRM.com is intended to be a comprehensive resource for business professionals who want to learn more about the benefits that customer relationship management (CRM) can provide to a company. It's our mission to provide the most reliable, up-to-date information about all aspects of the customer relationship management process, including the options available for hosting platforms, automation, software, custom application development, and infrastructures.


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