For the most part, companies are fully aware of the importance of providing top-notch customer service, but many are struggling to adapt to the changes being brought about by social media and mobile devices. As these technologies continue gaining popularity, consumers have come to expect consistent service through these platforms.
“Today, instead of managing customers, we have to facilitate, collaborate, with customers, and have a dialogue with them – that’s exactly what social CRM is about,” said Sunil Jose, vice president of applications at Oracle India, according to InformationWeek.
A recent Oracle survey found that 97 percent of executives worldwide believe that customer experience is an essential component of business success, estimating that poor service would result in a 20 percent loss of yearly revenue. In addition, more than 80 percent of respondents said that social customer relationship management (CRM) strategies will be vital going forward, and they plan to invest 18 percent more in customer experience over the next two years.
“By empowering customers and employees, breaking down organizational silos, and implementing flexible processes and technology tools, organizations can deliver personalized, seamless customer service through the entire experience lifecycle,” said David Vap, group vice president at Oracle.
CRM strategies need to improve
While the Oracle study revealed that CRM awareness is high, the implementation process is lagging behind. Currently, only 35 percent of organizations worldwide are using social networking sites as a sales channel or for customer service purposes.
A recent CIO Magazine report discussed the ways companies can take advantage of social CRM – beginning with integrating these strategies into the sales process. Rather than treating social media as a separate entity, every division – from sales to PR to customer service – should be educated about how social CRM fits in.
In addition, the source suggested that organizations employ experts to analyze and get the most out of the data these websites produce. With customers constantly voicing their opinions on social media, companies have an unprecedented opportunity – both to respond to issues and identify future trends in real time.
Mobile applications provide additional potential for business representatives with regard to customer service. According to a recent Unified Communications Strategies blog, companies are finding that cloud-based unified communications solutions allow employees to respond to consumers almost instantly from anywhere with internet connection. At the same time, unified communications contribute to cross-channel approaches that organizations are being forced to adopt.