To continue my CRM software learning (and boost my resume a bit), I've decided to get beyond the CRM software reviews and delve into social CRM.
Complimenting traditional and largely transaction-based Customer Relationship Management software applications and business strategies with social CRM (aka sCRM) and other Web 2.0 or social media technologies helps all types of businesses better engage prospects and customers and advances their customer relationships along a path from original buyer to repeat customer to collaborative partner and finally to unsolicited advocate. Social CRM software and strategies, tools and techniques recognize the undeniable change in managing the dialogue from the supplier to the customer. However, Social CRM also aids suppliers to customers with new social tools which are very collaborative and interactive and helpful to better engage customers at the exact time, place and channel they prefer.
Social Customer Relationship Management joins the objectives, processes and tools to engage prospects and customers in a (generally online) conversation and dialogue that satisfies the customers increasing need for near real-time access to information and resources while providing their suppliers with never before offered feedback, customer interaction and opportunity for improved customer relationships.
Beyond Social Media
Social CRM began from the broader social media phenomenon and is most often characterized by a range of customer initiated online communication channels such as social networks, the blogosphere, and online communities. Quick thinking businesses are experimenting and implementing new social strategies, tools and processes to engage customers in the method they desire, and in the way that changes the communication from monologue to a dialogue and real conversation. Social CRM includes much more than just making the prospect or customer think they are wanted and goes further to make the customer understand they are truly valued and integral member in the company's purpose - with influence to the marketing department, the Research and Development department or other business departments that need and benefit from direct customer feedback for their products and services.
Social CRM, like social media, is best achieved with new thinking and clear understanding that the relationship with the new social customers has been forever changed from a one-way conversation that the company previously controlled to a two-way communication dialogue where the customer is proactive, part of a larger online community and more intent on being heard and considered a part of the service, product or solution they seek to acquire.