Social customer relationship management will be key to business strategy in 2012, though some companies may struggle to see immediate results. According to Forbes, companies large and small are expected to invest $1 billion in social applications for their CRM systems this year to improve sales, marketing and customer service initiatives.
Despite this growth, the new source states that success with social CRM will only develop if companies truly embrace social media as a way to meet service objectives. This will lay on the shoulders of both the business and application provider and will require them to genuinely engage their customers and audience with these services.
The article stresses that social customer relationship management is no different than traditional CRM. Companies still need to focus on the R in CRM, building strong relationships. The key to having a successful social CRM campaign is to engage customers and do things with the customer, not to them. Clients must see value in participating in a social community, and benefit from the relationship with the business and its products and services.
According to E-Commerce Times, social CRM is something that many companies will have to "grow in to." This maturation will come from individual desire to bring the benefits of social networking in their private lives to the workplace. Many businesses are ready to adopt strong CRM practices but lack the foundation to do so.
The article suggests that businesses ensure that their traditional call center and newer cloud-based CRM solutions are up to par before advancing into social media. A company will need that foundation of customer relations to understand how to best implement the social strategy, as well as know which data is most valuable.
MyCustomer.com suggests a few tips for a strong CRM foundation, including improving communication with customers, study which medium clients attempt to contact the business through most, observe competitions success and failure, and even borrow ideas of other industries. However, the most important tip is maintaining accountability. If a customer feels that a company is not trying to serve them to the best of its ability, they will take their business elsewhere.