The importance of social media/CRM monitoring

Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner, shows why companies must think outside of the box

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The importance of social media/CRM monitoring Neha Gupta from Gartner says that enterprises now have less control of their brand.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 12, 2012

Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner, shows why companies must think outside of the box.

What is social media/CRM monitoring and how does it work?
Gartner defines Social CRM as a business strategy that entails the extension of marketing, sales and customer service processes to include the active participation of customers or visitors to an internet channel (web or mobile) with the goal of fostering participation in the business process. To be successful with social CRM, organisations need to be much less focused on how an organisation can manage the customer, and much more focused on how the customer can manage the relationship.

Monitoring of social media communications can provide information on high-risk situations, the mood of a populace and the level of support for disruptive actions. For example, in disaster anticipation, prevention and recovery, social media communications can be a great ally in helping to alert people to coming danger and to help them after disaster has struck. In a disaster, social media monitoring can help identify people requiring assistance and beneficial activities and resources being provided by individuals and organisations.

What is the value of social media/CRM monitoring for the enterprise?
There are three key factors that will both justify and drive the need for supporting social media efforts that will become important to businesses to the point that they will be critical and a ‘need to have’ and no longer a ‘nice to have’.

Reduced cost of operations - Properly implemented supporting social initiatives can help reduce costs by providing means for increased customer service and more efficient means of support through crowdsourcing and other social engagements. The result is measurable cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

Increased revenue - Lowered costs are often not enough justification for an initiative, rather there must also be improved revenue streams as well. Engagement with social consumers allow for enthusiasts and influencer conversations, namely key customers that can influence others, shape the opinions of the market and help expand the customer base and drive new business.

Build brands - Developing positive consumer social inertia has a byproduct that will also increase overall brand value. This increase in popularity and value directly translates into the potential increases in perceived value and price of products sold. The result is vendors can sell products at higher prices than their competitors.

Do you think this technology will become a ‘must have’?
Corporate images are now no longer controlled exclusively by vendors. They are now influenced and shaped by social factors well beyond the immediate control of traditional marketing, public relations and advertising. There is a more serious implication to this loss of reputation and brand control. Impressions, experiences and anecdotal tales that are both good and bad will have direct impact. Therefore, engaging with the social consumer is no longer optional but mandatory.

Why is social media so important for businesses?
Consumers are now empowered in ways they have never been before. In the past, consumer behavior was influenced by two things. Personal historical actions or external influences such as the recommendations of trusted sources like friends or marketing and advertising. Today, consumer behavior is augmented by the consumer social experience which includes real-time information, contextual data and other social factors that affect the consumer.

The result of this ongoing, global consumer conversation and continual social interaction is that consumers and vendors now can make better informed decisions and fewer mistakes about the decisions they make.

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