The Social Side of CRM
By Ashish Gambhir Co-founder , newBrandAnalytics | April 08, 2012
"Power to the people." John Lennon's famous lyrics could well be adopted as the battle cry of today's consumers who have embraced the power social media. With constant connection to Twitter, Facebook, and several other social networking sites, your customers understand that they have the power to quickly voice their opinions anytime, anywhere. Pew Internet Research has found that, on average, each American has 634 ties in their overall network. But their online voice extends well beyond their own social sphere. From airing their grievances to praising their favorite brands - and everywhere in between - consumers are sharing their experiences for the online world to see.
Progressing with the times, brands are in fact listening. Especially brands in the hospitality space where providing an excellent guest experience is a hotel's lifeblood. Interacting with guests online and gleaning insight from the real-time, unsolicited criticism and praise inherent in online conversations lets hotels know what they need to do to create stronger, sustainable relationships with their guests. Integrating social media into a brand's customer relationship management strategies - known a Social CRM - is the next frontier of using the "power of the people" to improve the customer experience.
What does Social CRM Mean?
The emergence of social networks on the web has given consumers the unprecedented ability to control the brand and brand experience as much - if not more - than the brand itself. This transfer of power is driving the socialization of CRM. Pushing your public relations and marketing messages out to customers online is part of social CRM. So is actively listening to their conversations. But the value of social CRM doesn't come from simply hanging out in the same online channels with your customers and responding to a couple of messages. It comes from truly extracting the insight from their free-form feedback.
As Becky Carroll, author of The Hidden Power of Your Customers!, explains in a recent interview on TheSocialCustomer.com, companies that view social as primarily a new channel through which to reach customers are missing out on the sweet spot for social media – customer retention and loyalty. "Social media isn't just about listening to social media chatter or 'being part of the conversation'. It is more than a way to reactively respond to customer issues voiced in this channel. It is a way to learn about your customers and their needs, then apply those insights to helping to meet those needs and growing customer relationships."
To realize the real value of social CRM, let's explore the variety of ways social media can be used to not only help hotels manage the customer experience but also to truly understand the experience your hotel delivers from the guest's perspective. The intelligence realized leads to improved operations, enhanced marketing initiatives, and increased customer loyalty.