Social CRM as the New Frontier of Marketing_ Sales and Service

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                      Integrating the social media channel enables CRM
                  to paint a more complete picture of the customer. by Bill Tobey

                             he emergence of social media is changing the way many consumers
                             learn about companies, products and services; form brand prefer-
                             ences; and make purchase decisions. In response, a new generation
                             of listening tools and analytics is emerging to help marketers
                  monitor, filter and interpret the online conversation.

                     But to fully realize the value of these insights,   The Shifting Balance of Influence
                  organizations must integrate the social channel        What is the future of CRM in a socially
                  into existing customer profile and behavioral          networked world? It’s not an academic
                  history information. Such integration works            question if you own the CRM portfolio for
                  to retain a single, unified and actionable view        your organization. And it may be more than
                  of consumers’ behavior as they interact across         your existing investment at stake—it may be
                  channels with the company and one another.             your business.

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  executive Summary

  the trend: Consumers are
  increasingly turning to social media
  for information about companies,
  products and services, even for post-
  sales support. Companies are at risk
                                                    of consumers have used social media to
                                                    research a product, brand or company.
                                                                                                          of adult Internet users consider blogs
                                                                                                          a good source of company or product
  of losing control of their message
  and their customer relationships.                 Source: “Social CRM: The New Frontier of Marketing, Sales and Service,” Accenture

  the Solution: Social CRM—                         vendor organizations have very little input or           “To derive greater value from these new
  an emerging mix of network-native                 influence. They don’t know where these new            communication channels, companies should
  relationship strategies, Web-based                conversations are happening, on which chan-                     adopt a social CRM strategy,” they
  listening tools and analytics—                    nels, or who the new influencers are that they                  write. “Such a strategy will help
  provides the capability to monitor                          need to attract. The whole nature of                  them touch customers at many
  conversations, engage influential                           influence has really changed.”                        more points and much earlier in
  participants and build networks                                Todd R. Wagner, managing director        the buying process, often at lower costs than
  of advocates.                                               of Accenture’s North American CRM           more traditional marketing, sales and cus-
                                                    management consulting practice, and Joe               tomer service channels. To do so, companies
  the opportunity: By integrat-                     Hughes, a managing director for Accenture’s           should embrace the social media channels
  ing social CRM tools and practices                Customer Service and Support practice,                being used by their customers, iden-
  with existing infrastructure and data,            point out several measures of how influence           tify and engage with the super-users
  organizations can integrate the social            has migrated from company-owned chan-                 who supply product expertise to other
  channel into a comprehensive CRM                  nels to community-owned channels in a new             customers, and harness the power of
  practice, restoring a holistic view of            Accenture report, “Social CRM: The New                advanced analytics to provide broad
  cross-channel interaction.                        Frontier of Marketing, Sales and Service.”            insights on customer needs, wants and
                                                    Among these is the fact that social network           behaviors.”
                                                    users doubled between 2007 and 2009.                     Jill Dyché, founding partner at Baseline
                                                       “These findings reflect a fundamental shift        Consulting and author of “The CRM
   Conventional CRM strategies seek to opti-        from a predominantly company-to-consumer              Handbook,” says these changes are already
mize the productivity of one-on-one customer        dialogue to a consumer-to-consumer dialogue,”         taking place. “We see CRM strategy chang-
interactions by leveraging integrated data and      the authors write. “In this new world, compa-         ing in two ways,” she explains. “The planning
business processes across multiple contact          nies have an opportunity or a threat depending        process is more formal and much more
channels. At a tactical level, the mission is a     on how they adapt marketing, sales and service        business-driven. And it’s finally incorporating
uniformly satisfactory user experience, en          of their products to a new consumer ecosystem.        social media conversations. CRM strategies are
route to the strategic goal of maximizing the       This environment is one in which enthusiasts          expanding to support the customer’s optimal
value of each customer.                             and detractors can dictate customer                   experience, as well as including social media
   Social media channels, by contrast, make         perception and experience.”                           in customer retention, sales uplift, and voice
information freely available to all. The effect                                                           of the customer initiatives. Social media is
is to shift influence to the community and          An Inclusive Strategy                                 becoming part of a robust and deliberate
power to the consumer. Consequently, the fate       This migration of conversations and influ-            CRM strategy.”
of the business increasingly depends on the         ence is forcing organizations to change the              But enacting a strategy will require inte-
reliability of the information circulating in the   way they think about customer interaction.            grating the growing number of social media
social channel and on the loyalties of its most     Wagner and Hughes advocate an expanded                monitoring and analytics tools, most of which
influential members.                                CRM strategy that integrates social media.            are software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, with
   “Customers are having more and more              They suggest companies consider directing             existing CRM applications and data, which
conversations among themselves, in social           their investments at new levers that enhance          commonly reside behind the enterprise firewall.
networks,” explains Ray Wang, enterprise            the customer experience. These levers include
software analyst and Altimeter Group partner.       offering social CRM tools, remote services,           Innovation and Diversification
“They’re learning from each other and com-          and flexible scheduling and availability of a         As rapidly as social CRM is developing, it
ing to their own conclusions. In many cases,        service professional for customers.                   remains far from mature—as a business

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   Nearly                 50%
of users rank information from other consumers as more
important than information from marketers.

discipline, a strategy or a technology stack.          monitoring alerts, the severity of the event,   social networking to serve as a new channel
Some companies have aggressively pushed                the influence of the individual involved,       within existing end-to-end CRM processes
their online presence, launching fan pages,            and the context of previous interactions        and investments. It enhances the relationship
customer forums, management blogs and                > Rapid social sales response. The ability        aspect and builds on improving the relation-
tweet streams. Initially, much of this activity        to catch a lead in mid-air by monitoring        ship with more meaningful interactions.”        >>
was reactive, defensive and limited in scope           social channels for sales opportunities
to brand management. However, the range              > Peer-to-peer unpaid armies. Groups of
of applications is diversifying rapidly with           harnessed customer and partner advo-
experimentation, experience and technical              cates with significant product and service               altimeter’S 5 m’S
progress, particularly in two areas:                   expertise to extend the support organiza-                 of Social crm
   > Automated listening tools let companies           tion and expedite the support response            According to Altimeter Group’s
     monitor comment activity across the             > Crowdsourced R&D. The act of engag-               Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang,
     Web, using keywords to scan for relevant          ing customers, partners and                       five capabilities are fundamental to
     posts and increasingly sophisticated              industry observers through                        successfully engaging social channels:
     analytics to identify key influencers,            the channel in requirement

                                                                                                            monitoring. Use listening tools to
     determine the sentiment and urgency               gathering, prototyping and
                                                                                                            filter out the noise in social media and
     behind posted comments, identify posi-            testing to accelerate develop-
                                                                                                            identify important conversations. The
     tive and negative trends, and generate            ment cycles                                       best tools integrate listening, analytical
     alerts based on business rules.                 Dyché also sees more varied applications            and alerting functions.
   > Social middleware enables application        for social CRM. “A single, enterprise-

     integration and data migration between       wide strategy for social media really isn’t                  mapping. Link social profiles with
     online social CRM services and across        enough,” she says. “What the most sophis-                    existing customer relationship
     the firewall to enterprise customer data     ticated companies are doing is crafting                      management (CRM) data to map
     repositories and CRM solutions.              departmental-level strategy. A cable/Internet          identities and understand relationships.
   “Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship     provider, for example, might use social

                                                                                                               management. Business rules,
Management,” a study by Wang and Altimeter        media aggressively in its customer service
                                                                                                               processes and priorities are
Group colleague Jeremiah Owyang, identified       organization, reacting to customer inquiries
                                                                                                               essential to make social CRM
18 distinct use cases for social CRM in various   and complaints. A consumer packaged goods
                                                                                                         information actionable.
stages of deployment readiness. “We found six     company might leverage social media more

areas of development focus,” Wang explains,       for marketing and branding.                                   middleware. These technologies
“including traditional CRM areas like sales,         “When you ask where the greatest business                  are essential for integrating
marketing and customer service, together with     value is, the answer is different from depart-                applications, data and business
emerging areas such as collaboration, innova-     ment to department,” she continues. “The               processes between online social CRM
tion and customer experience. So it’s much        tactical applications may be entirely different        services and enterprise CRM resources
more than brand management, and it involves       across different lines of business, even though        behind the firewall.
the entire organization.”                         they may use the same data.”

   These use cases include:                                                                                    measurement. Measure the
                                                                                                               impact and business value of
   > Rapid social marketing response. A           New Source of Value                                          your activities, and continuously
     coordinated, near real-time response by      Wang and Owyang also indicate: “Social CRM
                                                                                                         reprioritize your investment based on
     internal marketing personnel to negative     does not replace existing CRM efforts—                 performance and business objectives.
     events in the social channel based on        instead it adds more value. In fact, it augments                                             —B.T.

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                                            Jc penney innovates through Social crm

     A single,
                                        W       hen US retailer JC Penney re-created
                                                its lingerie brand, now called Ambrielle,
                                        it took an innovative approach that centered
                                                                                                Flip Video, so when he goes overseas to the
                                                                                                manufacturers, he can show our customers
                                                                                                what he does.”

 wide strategy                          on social networking.
                                           The company established an online com-
                                                                                                   To develop its social network, the retailer
                                                                                                needed to know who had made a purchase
    for social                          munity and actively engaged with its members,           recently, and what type of customer she is—
                                        enabling it to:                                         an early adopter or community influencer, for
  media really                             > Gather input on every aspect of product,           instance. So JC Penney utilized its existing data

  isn’t enough.                              communication and experience
                                           > Redesign product and test it within
                                                                                                warehouse and campaign software, both from
                                                                                                Teradata, to access near real-time purchase
What the most                                the community                                      information and communicate with customers.
                                           > Revise communication and experience,                  The system provided more than name
 sophisticated                               then test them as well                             and contact information. To identify early

companies are                              Members of the online community have
                                        developed a sense of ownership of the experi-
                                                                                                adopters, for example, required data on what
                                                                                                buyers purchased within a week. Those who
doing is crafting                       ence because JC Penney asks them what they              qualified were then invited to join an online
                                        want and acts upon their input.                         panel. Others were offered opportunities
  department-                              “We constantly get compliments from our              to customize their communication with the

 level strategy.                        community members just for listening to
                                        them,” says Laura Carros, customer loyalty
                                                                                                retailer, allowing them to provide feedback
                                                                                                and receive messaging.
                                        and research business development manager
                                        for the Ambrielle community. “We intention-             Source: This account is excerpted from “The
                                        ally took it to the next level by engaging              Empowered Customer,” by Dr. Jeff Tanner
                                                                                                and Deepa Morris
                                        the product designer. We gave him a little
                  —Jill Dyché,
            founding partner,
          Baseline Consulting

   In a similar vein, Wagner and Hughes             start with what we call the five M’s: monitor-     Understand your existing data model, because
underscore the importance of grounding new          ing, mapping, middleware, management and           social media will force you to extend it.
insights in a more global context. “Compa-          measurement,” he says. “That will help you            “Then try to understand where the highest-
nies must be careful to balance the online          understand where your company and its prod-        value conversations are taking place,” she
feedback they gain from current and poten-          ucts are being discussed, in which channels        continues. “You may very well decide that
tial customers,” they write. “While such                    and by which individuals. Then you can     customer service is a higher priority than
feedback can provide valuable intelligence                  decide which of these conversations        marketing. And you may decide to reach out
on what they are thinking, too much focus                   are most important to you, which ones      to a specific, defined customer segment before
on one source or one segment can lead to                     you want to join, and what you want       hanging out your shingle on Facebook.” T
a narrow or biased perspective. As a result,        to accomplish. You really have to decide what
companies should consider integrating data          business value you’re trying to achieve, then      Bill Tobey, a senior technology writer based in Salt
from online channels with other, more holis-        go back to your basic insights to decide what’s    Lake City, covers the business applications of IT.
tic quantitative and qualitative data gleaned       realistic.”
from other sources, to paint a more accurate           Dyché advises to first understand your
picture of their overall customer base.”            existing information environment before                     online
                                                    extending it. “You really want a good handle                For more on this topic, check
                                                                                                                out the Web seminar “Putting
Moving Target                                       on your incumbent customer data before you                  all of the Pieces Together:
So how does an organization begin to engage         toss something new, large and volatile into the             Finding Value in Unstructured
its customers through social channels? Wang         mix,” she says. “Inventory your data. Know                  Data” at
says it all begins with listening. “You have to     what you’ve got before you move forward.

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