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Social Media: Changing the Face of Customer Relationship Management, for SMBs Too

One of the most-implemented technologies in the business world, Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, has been changing its face in recent years. This platform, aimed at managing companies’ interaction with clients, is changing to fit the new ways customers communicate with businesses. Information from social networks and other Internet-based media is now being incorporated into the CRM process and analysis. This new and improved platform is called SCRM: Social Customer Relationship Management.

The biggest difference between regular CRM and SCRM is that while in regular CRM consumer information become nameless data that is analyzed by a company’s marketing team, SCRM gives consumers voices and faces. Through this, communication between a brand and its customers is no longer one way. Social media allows consumers and companies to conduct a dialogue that leads to genuine trust and engagement.

If in the past, CRM systems were the domain of large and rich companies, now thanks to cloud technology, there is a growing interest in CRM and SCRM among SMBs. A survey conducted by Dell Cloud Business Applications shows that adoption of cloud business applications is on the rise amongst SMBs. Which application is the most successful? You guessed it right, CRM. Of any cloud application, CRM has the highest penetration—up to 55 percent—an increase of up to 34 percent since 2010.

What is it about SCRM that is so luring to SMBs? Unsurprisingly, it all boils down to money. In the long run, Smart SCRM strategy should lead to greater sales through increased trust, awareness, and engagement, which mean longer lifecycles for each customer. SCRM also leads to decreased costs involved with acquiring and maintaining new customers. In a more short-run perspective, it helps businesses manage the communication with their customers in a smart and harmonic way. SCRM platforms provide businesses with a unified stream of new notifications from all social networks, in one place, so they can read and respond immediately. Most platforms also inform you about potential engagement opportunities such as birthdays, seminars or important meetings relevant to your industry or customers, job changes, etc. Lastly, SCRM can also be integrated into your marketing and customer service system so you can better serve your clients and add a personal touch to the service given to them.

Power relations between consumers and businesses have changed dramatically in the last few years. Social networks have given customers the power they were longing for. Social CRM is a means through which companies can empower and respect their customers and simultaneously enhance their brand, reputation, and revenue.

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