Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is becoming a vital source through which companies can remain organized, efficient, and maintain a strong relationship with existing and potential customers. Due to its immense popularity, CRM software vendors saw potential in combining social media efforts with CRM software, resulting in the introduction of Social CRM to the marketplace. Despite being a fairly new concept, social CRM is quickly gained popularity among users, as it leverages social media and serves as a tool for communication and collaboration. Gartner now estimates that there will be an 80% growth in enterprise use of social networking tools through CRM.
Social CRM by no means replaces traditional CRM software; instead, it is a supportive bonus. With Social CRM strategies, companies are able to gain a strong grasp on social media monitoring and gain an advantage in customer feedback monitoring abilities. This allows them to monitor, track, and respond accordingly to existing customers and potential customers talking about the advantages/disadvantages of their company through a social media outlet, such as Facebook or Twitter. Customers will see that the company is engaged, and eager to provide interactive, strong customer service. Social CRM will allow companies to access and respond to product reviews; it will also allow them to generate sales contacts and leads through various social media outlets.
Since Social CRM is quickly developing and gaining popularity, competition among social CRM vendors is bound to skyrocket in the near future. Right now, social CRM vendors are able to establish a unique name for themselves in the marketplace due to specialized services, ease of use, and the quality of their professional services. It will become inevitably more difficult for CRM vendors to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, since an increased number of social CRM vendors are fighting to gain a strong reputation among a limited group of users. There is also the possibility of larger, established, traditional CRM companies integrating social CRM into their already reliable CRM solutions. An example of this recently occurred through Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Radian6.
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