Customer interaction can improve with social CRM

    The introduction of social media has presented businesses with new outlets to contact consumers. Social customer relationship management (CRM) can provide companies with the opportunity to gain valuable consumer insights.

    Social CRM refers to the use of social media platforms and techniques to interact with audiences. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are common websites that allow customers to reach out to company employees through a method other than the phone.


    Companies are not accessible to customers


    According to a study conducted by Genesys, however, Fortune 500 companies that depend on consumers to produce profit often resist listing social media on their company websites as contact channels. About 55 percent do not post their Twitter handles on the "Contact Us" page and 51 percent do not provide a link to their Facebook profiles.


    The study showed that 83 percent offer contact forms as an alternative to social media contact, a method that could deter consumers from reaching out to an organization. Small businesses also fail to post email addresses and phone numbers on the contact page of their websites.


    "These findings are an indication that social media is still a very new phenomenon," said Tom Eggemeier, head of global sales at Genesys. "Many large consumer-facing companies are still struggling and not confident in their ability to deal with customer queries and complaints via social media."


    Social media can improve productivity


    As social media becomes a fixture in everyday use, businesses should integrate a social strategy to avoid a disconnect with audiences, which could potentially affect profits.


    According to a Nucleus Research report on the value of mobile and social CRM, integrating social CRM can make salespeople 11.8 percent more productive. Sales employees can use Twitter and Facebook to monitor interactions and collect information on customers.


    Adding mobility to a company's social CRM strategy can also improve consumer interaction. The BYOD movement is driving both employees and consumers to access websites through mobile devices, which can increase employee productivity by 26.4 percent, according to Nucleus Research. If a company website cannot be easily used on a tablet or smartphone, business may suffer.


    The future of managing customer relationships is evolving. Although 16 percent of respondents to the Nucleus Research survey do not know about or understand social CRM, companies should become educated in the science of social media.