More than two-thirds of European internet users participate in social networks at least monthly, 25% search for products and services online and 15% have registered on pages dedicated to brands. Increasing conversation, comment and discussion on goods and services on the internet offer new opportunities for interaction between brands and their clients, but companies need to take charge of this process.
In the past few years, social CRM has become an increasingly important marketing and sales tool and a key element of commercial strategy. It adds a conversational, participatory and opportunistic element to traditional CRM techniques, creating a channel for marketing, sales promotion and client support, developing tailored customer offerings, and building trust and transparency between provider and customer.
- New channels of communication, which can include viral advertising, consumer recommendations, forums and blogs, increase the ability to create positive or negative ‘buzz’ around a product or service.
- To take commercial advantage of these new relationships, companies need internal community management teams charged with client interaction, producing and publishing content, measuring performance and developing awareness of social CRM within the organisation.
- Developing social CRM requires building internal resources and perhaps initially drawing on external expertise, as well as managing the integration of appropriate IT tools.
- One example: Philipp von Restorff of the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association says retail banks are already using social media to address younger clients. He expects this to broaden to other financial services players including private banks, family offices and asset managers, with first movers obtaining a competitive advantage in building relationships with prospective and existing clients as well as other stakeholders.