The Social CRM Conference 2012 was hosted by “Our Social Times” on the 11th of June in Frankfurt in Germany. Luke Brynley-Jones, Director of Our Social Times introduced the conference with the following provoking quote: “Social CRM is the future of social media”. Social CRM is a hot and widely discussed topic but is it really integrated into everyday business life? Finding the answer to that question was focused on during the conference.
In order to be able to effectively use Social CRM, companies need to take some essential things into account. It is crucial to put the customer into focus. Luke Brynley-Jones asked the fundamental question: “Are your customers ready for Social CRM?” Basically, are they actively engaged in social media and do they want to interact with companies via social media? If these questions cannot be positively answered, Social CRM is the wrong way to address customers. But if it is the case that the customers are ready for Social CRM, some fundamental guidelines must be followed. Vivian Pein, Social Media Manager of Hermes Logistics Group, laid emphasis on the proper integration of social media in the overall corporate strategy. Thereby she suggests acting on the following principle: “Be fast, transparent and authentic”. In addition to the strategic integration, Social CRM also needs to be incorporated into operative corporate structures. Tom Schuster of Sugar CRM pointed out that Social CRM affects every corporate department, but most of all marketing, customer service, and sales are responsible. Beneath the strategic and operative integration of Social CRM, it lastly must be technically integrated. For the optimal technical integration, Björn Ognibeni of Buzzrank recommended to take the following actions: interfaces to the corporate CRM program need to be created, the social web must be continuously monitored and a regular evaluation is necessary. Thus, new metrics for efficiently measuring the effects of Social CRM must eventually be defined. Lutz Finger of FishEye Analytics/INSEAD highlighted that the right data must be measured; supposedly those data which provide information about KPIs. Additionally, the measured data need to be well structured for appropriate analysis. Taking all the recommendations together, Social CRM can only be profitably used if it is correctly integrated into corporate strategy and the operative and technical infrastructure of a company.
The theory sounds good, but how is it applied in business practice? Before being able to answer this question, another question needs to be answered: Does a market for Social CRM exist? According to Salesforce Insight 2011, 42% of social media users contacted brands over the social web and 61% are willing to give feedback to a brand or a product. Regarding these statistics, a market for Social CRM really exists and customers are ready for Social CRM. In addition, a study of LightSpeed Research and the Internet Advertising Bureau UK showed that 25% of those who complained via Facebook or Twitter expected an answer within one hour and 6% even await a reply within 10 minutes. Thus, many customers are not only ready for Social CRM, they actively demand it.
Have companies realized this emerging trend and react accordingly? According to Bitkom’s study, 47% of companies in Germany use social media and additional 15% have already planned to apply it. The companies’ goals for using social media are differently defined. Most companies apply social media for reasons of communication (75%) and customer acquisition (72%). 19% aim to refine their product and service portfolio. Unluckily, about 66% did not manage to define any goals for the application of social media. 41% of German companies appoint central persons in charge for the area of social media and 56% practice social media monitoring. Another study of Brandwatch, introduced by Naomi Trickey, demonstrates that brands become increasingly active on Twitter. Of 258 observed brands, 38% did not tweet at all in 2011 and in 2012 there were only 10%. 75% of the brands having a twitter account use it as a channel to send and receive tweets. However, according to Salesforce Insight 2011, only 15% of social media users were contacted by a brand regarding their negative feedback in social media. These statistics demonstrate that companies only begin to use social media efficiently and that Social CRM in business real life still requires a lot of development.
The above mentioned statistics convey the impression that companies are not yet ready for Social CRM, at least in Germany. But at the Social CRM Conference in Frankfurt some very successful Social CRM cases were introduced. For example, Björn Ognibeni of BuzzRank presented the implementation of Social CRM at Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom. These two Social CRM projects aimed to turn negative feedback with the help of excellent service into positive feedback, as both is seen and discussed in social media already. Therefore, it was crucial to prepare the Social CRM execution properly. At first, a communication strategy based on specified guidelines had to be established. In the case of Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom, it was important that real persons speak to the customer through social media. Based on that principle, both companies introduce their employees speaking to the customers personally by name and with picture on their twitter accounts, @DB_Bahn and @Telekom_hilft. The same applies for the Facebook fan page of Telekom-hilft. The customers should also be addressed personally rather than formally. For that the employees got special training and were properly prepared for their responsibilities in social media. After having implemented the communication strategy, the required operative and technical infrastructure needed to be established. Both companies practice social media monitoring and connected the social media channels to their existing CRM program. Explicit guidelines and rules for the information transfer exist for being able to guarantee a rapid solution for the customers’ problems. In addition, customer feedback is occasionally generated over social media in order to optimize customer service. Summarizing this case, Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom have successfully implemented Social CRM and showed that social media can be efficiently used for generating customer feedback to optimize internal service, ensuring a higher customer satisfaction.
Taking everything together, the Social CRM Conference showed that Social CRM is not only a widely discussed topic, but also that it slowly is becoming real in business practice. Especially because customers are increasingly asking for it. But in order to be able to effectively integrate Social CRM and to create added value, it is crucial to prepare the implementation strategically, operatively and technically by always focusing on the customer. Social CRM on the next level is happening already.
voice of the customer
Customer Experience Management
increase response rate
voice of the employee