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Social Media at the Heart of CRM 2.0

Roundtable Topic: CRM and Web 2.0: Leveraging New Technologies to Engage Customers

We asked the top CRM vendors to offer tips to our readers on how they might best leverage new “Web 2.0” CRM technologies to Engage Customers.  Responding to this topic, Hoyt Mann, President of PhaseWare, Inc., emphasizes the use of social media to build customer interaction. 

Social Media at the Heart of CRM 2.0
Contributed by Hoyt Mann, President, PhaseWare, Inc.

The distinguishing characteristic of a Web 2.0 application is interactivity. In what is now considered “Web 1.0” pages were fairly static; updates to pages required the entire page to reload; and the web was about publishing content and throwing it out there rather than using a feedback mechanism to create targeted content and allowing readers to comment and discuss, offering different viewpoints.

Using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML), a collection of technologies that enables updates of small portions of pages rather than reload the entire page, creates an incredibly smooth user experience where the user can be part of the development process, not just a consumer of media.

Using a rich web interface the speed of data interchange and page post-backs can seem instantaneous.  A business benefit is that with the information gleaned from the content of the forum, the business owner quickly learns what needs to be addressed in the product or service, what works and what doesn’t, even what the next product or upgrade should contain. The ability to allow such a relationship with a customer stands the old top-down, R&D business model on its head. Used correctly it gives customers the satisfying feeling of being in control rather than being dictated to.

PhaseWare itself uses several of the social networking sites for marketing and customer retention purposes. Blogging on high tech sites such as ITtoolbox.com is used to show thought leadership and expertise in the customer service arena. Additionally, blogging allows a way to give tips and suggestions on customer service at large or the use of the PhaseWare product; it can even begin a relationship with a customer by allowing two way communications.  Blog entries can be sent by a reader to sites such as Technorati where they are tagged and disseminated further afield. RSS confers the ability to automatically inform subscribed readers about blog updates. Sites like Twitter are quick ways to promote new blog postings, press releases, new version releases, and the company webpage.

For those businesses willing to learn to use them, Web 2.0 can increase the number of available marketing channels and receive immediate feedback on products.