You can make the most of the opportunities presented by social CRM (SCRM) and social media by avoiding these four common mistakes.
Social Media — It’s Not A Broadcast Network
Many companies fail to grasp the two-way nature of social media. So they use sites like Facebook and Twitter to saturate their audience with messages while making no effort to listen to their customers and respond appropriately. It’s the social media version of “shock and awe.” This is understandable given the evolution of marketing as outbound communication only. But today, such behavior is seen as loutish and clueless.
Your Customers Might Misbehave — You Can’t
You should behave as a peer with your customers, not a pal. Your customer community may be fairly rambunctious, even coarse on line, but that doesn’t mean you should match their behavior. You shouldn’t. Remain the professional, especially in situations where a detractor becomes aggressive. You can respond to comments and answer concerns without engaging in a verbal brawl. Remember, most social media is not real time. You always have time to craft a response that addresses an issue and reflects well on you and your business.
Don’t Sabotage Your Efforts
Be patient. Social CRM is a new discipline. It will require time for your business to develop effective SCRM processes and for those processes to evolve and take root. If you attach unrealistic ROI goals or timelines to your social CRM efforts, you’ll waste the opportunity that SCRM represents today and dampen enthusiasm for it in the future.
Don’t Be Short Sighted
Skepticism and timidity about social media at a time when its growth continues to outstrip projections almost daily seems incredibly short sighted. Yet, the 2011 Capgemini Executive Outsourcing Survey revealed that 13 percent of executives interviewed at Fortune 1000 companies believed that social media was just a fad and not important to their companies’ success. Not so long ago, the Internet was viewed in the same way. In 1993, none other than Bill Gates said, “The Internet? We are not interested in it.”
Social media and the changes that it promotes are unlikely to disappear. Businesses that ignore this do so at their peril. There will be market share to gain for companies that excel in using social media. Does that mean you should “bet the farm” on social media and SCRM? No, it means that like any business tool–ERP, traditional CRM, business intelligence, supply chain management, and so forth–you should keep an open mind and make strategic investments in SCRM that will enable you to evaluate it thoroughly in the context of your business.
Social Media: The Long View
Since social media is ubiquitous, CRM has no other course but to accommodate and use it. Yes, in the short term, it can strain resources and disrupt the business routine. Most innovations do. But social media, and by extension SCRM, is an opportunity to make sales and service processes more effective, get closer to the customer, and make businesses more productive, responsive, and profitable.
SCRM is not a replacement for traditional CRM; it’s an expansion of its scope. SCRM takes traditional CRM principles and applies them to a new set of data sources. It has the potential to support product creation, revamp old service processes, deliver rich sales and marketing data, and foster peer-to-peer relationships with customers. Social CRM is an opportunity to improve your business and the experience your customers have with it.
Chris Bucholtz is Editor in Chief of CRM Outsiders, a founding editor of both InsideCRM and Forecasting Clouds, and a recognized influencer in customer relationship management. To find out more about how to empower your employees with Social CRM please visit http://www.sugarcrm.com