In this article, you will be getting an insight on Social CRM adoption and Evaluation. The article will provide you an insight on the general aspect of Social CRM, its benefits, adoption and Evaluation in terms of applications. Social CRM integrates traditional CRM systems with the Social Web, which amplifies a broad research area. The extension of the social component into existing CRM affects overarching sales, marketing, strategy and IT departments which makes an integration of the concept challenging, complex and ambiguous .
However, the concept gives a new kind of customer insights with advanced technological tools and strategies that can drive a company’s performance. Since many customer campaigns, complaints and requests often occur solely on social platforms a close connection line between operational CRM and Social Media technology is needed to be drawn, which led to the incremental establishment and transformation from CRM towards CRM 2.0 during the past seven years (Greenberg, 2010).
Application of CRM Technology
Besides CRM systems being an important strategic component for organisations’ marketing departments the evolution of Social Media usage within companies has gained great attention and as a consequence often stands at the top of executives’ agendas (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
In general the concept of Social Media is characterized by online content sharing, collaboration and communication activities that are facilitated through social software platforms which in turn help individuals to communicate in communities via personal computers, mobile phones or tablets (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
Benefits and Applications
Social CRM facilitates the conversation and collaboration between an enterprise and its customers, because the components are based on Web 2.0 technologies, which integrate data and conversations from e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks (Leary, 2008). Cloud based platforms, also called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), that offer intelligent Social CRM systems, are among others HubSpot, Radian6 (acquired by Salesforce), Nimble, Jive or SugarCRM. The common denominator within all definitions is that the B2C interaction and integration of a Social CRM system generates value for the organization.
Features of social CRM
Social Media activities natively and manually to extract and analyze raw data, comments, posts or sentiment that has been generated on external networks like Facebook or Twitter, Social CRM systems are able to fasten and facilitate the entire Business Intelligence (BI) process, which might lead to absorptive capacity .Social CRM tools need to incorporate six different categories: Monitoring and Capturing, Analysis, Exploitation, IS Integration, Communication, and Management. Even though many new tools, vendors and applications are still being developed the classification can be seen as valid, because of the extensive and detailed research of Social CRM providers and the supplement literature that has been examined in this context.
Feature 1: Monitoring and Capturing
With the functionalities Monitoring & Capturing, Küpper et al. (2014) mean the track ability of real-time data on the web or its own Social Media channels. Depending on the feature of the system, data can be retrieved in individual but also aggregated format. As an advanced form of BI, Social Media monitoring enables enterprises to track everything what has been written or shared about the company or its products within seconds.
Feature 2: Analysis By definition
Social Media analysis can be described as “(…) the practice of gathering data from blogs and Social Media websites and analyzing that data to make business decisions” (Rouse, 2014). The automated analysis of data from Face book, Twitter, blogs and other social networks is a feature that reflects practical implications either graphically or in aggregated and structured form.
Feature 3: Exploitation
It is strongly interconnected with traditional CRM systems. The aggregated dataset from customers that has been extracted and analysed from social networks needs to be “exploited”. Thus, the system should have integrated activities to track sales records, user activities and forecasts or development of trends (Küpper et al., 2014). Exploitation of Big Data is a complex task, which can be managed with customer mapping. It allocates inter-connectedness, interests, communication flows and mutual communication between users.
Feature 4: Information Systems
integration of Social CRM systems a main feature is the ability to combine it with other information systems that have already been implemented in the company (Küpper et al. 2014). On the one hand it is the CRM interface which now needs to analyse and pull data from Social Media. On the other hand it is the Information System’s interface which integrates the Social CRM system into existing sales and operational processes.
Feature 5: Communication
The communication feature contains the ability to communicate externally with existing and potential customers or fans, but also internally with employees. In terms of social network communication it means that Social Media or marketing managers can interact directly from the system with the person who makes a complaint, suggestion, comment or request
Feature 6: Management
The management function secures the ability to coordinate, moderate and collaborate in a fast manner with social customers. Supplement features are community management, user permission management and engagement management. Those three are main facets in terms of internal and external engagement since everything in organisational Social Media management depends on an efficient customer interaction and execution strategy (Küpper et al., 2014).
Adoption and Evaluation of Social CRM
The Adoption of evaluation of Social CRM can be understood in a phased manner using the research aspects as below
Present state of Social CRM
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most important channels when it comes to Social Media integration into companies to leverage and deploy social touch points and customer information.
Purpose of Social CRM
The main purpose is to gain value from pulling automatically personal data from online interactions via Social Media channels. A main facet is the new concept of “Social Selling” in order to generate prospects and analyze potential customers.
Technical aspect of Social CRM
CRM Integration and synchronization of data with other systems that are already used within an organization is crucial.
Customer relationship might be strengthened with Social CRM tools, because of the information advantage that companies can gain when implementing it. Since it is a complex tool that needs time to implement, many cross functional departments are involved: Marketing & Sales, IT, Legal, Operations and Research & Development.
Evaluation of Social CRM
Automated functions (monitoring, tracking and managing customer interactions) bring the main benefit, because of real-time communication. From there data gathering and approaching customers directly becomes much easier for organizations.
An implementation can be costly and time consuming, because of different privacy laws in different markets. Furthermore many organizations still do not know what to do with a huge amount of incoming data from Social Media.
Adoption process of Social CRM
The organizational adoption behavior of Social CRM is influenced by Personal factors, Organizational factors and Technical factors.
The personal factors which influence the adoption process of Social CRM are adopter types, socio economic status, and behavior pattern of communication and personality variables. The personal factors are controlled by the end user.
The Organizational factors can be categorically assessed as internal factors and external factors. The components of internal factors are complexity, centralization; inter connectivity, and organizational slack.
The external factors are openness of the system or receptive nature of the system to adopt. Centralization and formulation influence how employees adopt a Social CRM software, also how well an organization is connected across the departments.
Also with other subsidiaries, organizational size was discussed and several opinions exist about how it influences the adoption, in this context organizational slack was also mentioned quite often, a company’s complexity was only mentioned once and thus there is need for further expert input in the future
Market structure (e.g. customer behavior), industry characteristics (B2B vs. B2C), competition, contract partners and country environment influence the adoption of Social CRM software!
The technical factors are focused on Social CRM software’s complexity, compatibility, trialability, observability and relative advantage influences the adoption.
Reason for adoption
Companies aim to improve their customer relationship and sales, further they want to gain better data through updated CRM systems, another reason is the support of marketing department and the software’s price.
Future of Social CRM
Changes in company process and practices
There will be a need of change in regard to company work flows, customer interactions, current CRM systems (depending on the individual company and its customers)
The technical integration of services and tools having new features and devices that can be integrated into the Social CRM software
Changes in customer communication and trends
There will be an increased customer focus and targeted communication enabled through Social CRM software. Social CRM itself is a trend that incorporates other trends and thus has an insecure future. There might be also an over evaluation of customer engagement
Goal setting process
It is important to create a strategy which defines the goals for the Social CRM software, also there needs to be an operation plan that captures each involved department and its work flows and further indicates what each employee is supposed to do with the software
Training and change adaption process
Most of the employees in social CRM domain have worked with consultants or held various training for the employees in order to improve adoption. When introducing a Social CRM software companies should adapt to the changes which come along with the software, there must be mind shifts regarding social media usage within a company
Social media presence and integration process
Companies need to build up their social media channels and decide which ones they want to focus on, careful usage of the company’s channels is crucial. Organizational and technical integration is highly recommended across departments and the Open Source CRM integration with existing systems in the organization with the new Social CRM software
Social CRM will not only gain more attention in academia. Also practical attention in the upcoming years is given since it might have a game changing potential for many B2C but also B2B organizations. The strong link between Social Media and Customer Relationship Management will, according to the analysis, play a key role and provides companies benefits with regards to customer relationship and information. Despite the mainly positively predicted implications of Social CRM, many research gaps are yet still undefined and need to be revealed in the future within this complex research area.