Industry analysis firm Forrester Research has been placing heavy emphasis of late on the emergence of CRM 2.0, the confluence of social computing and business. In its latest report on the topic, William Band, a principal analyst at the firm and one of CRM magazine’s 2007 influential leaders, examines how early adopters are implementing strategies for the social customer.
“Leading-edge organizations are actively using social technologies to forge new and tighter relationships with their buyer communities, and social technologies are driving business results,” Band writes in CRM 2.0: Fantasy or Reality? How Trail-Blazing Companies Are Implementing Social Customer Strategies. “Now is the time to take action to start gaining the practical experience you need to break out of old mindsets and grasp new opportunities. Those who wait to join in will find it increasingly hard to catch up.”
According to the research, which is part of Forrester’s “CRM 2.0 Imperative,” the social Web is making CRM professionals think beyond the two-way relationship between business and customer — and far beyond the one-way communication that characterizes a non-customer-centric mindset — and include the simultaneous interactions that customers have among themselves. “CRM is evolving from its traditional focus on optimizing customer-facing transactional processes to include the strategies and technologies to develop collaborative and social connections with customers, suppliers, and even competitors,” Band writes.
Band adds that, while traditional CRM solutions will continue to aggregate customer data, analyze that data, and automate workflows to optimize business processes, “CRM professionals must find innovative new solutions to engage with emerging social consumers, enrich the customer experience through community-based interactions, and architect solutions that are flexible and foster strong intra-organization and customer collaboration.”
Readers of CRM magazine may find it jarring to see social CRM discussed as something still most commonly found with early adopters, but it is still a new field, as Band explained in a follow-on interview. “I get a lot of clients who are calling about traditional CRM initiatives and solutions,” Band says. “When I mention social or 2.0, the vast majority says it’s not really in their thinking.” While industry insiders have been watching this area for some time, the real capabilities that are available can still surprise people. “To the broader world it’s still very new,” he says.
Often, Band adds, Forrester’s clients don’t even come to CRM 2.0 on purpose. “In a lot of cases, the clients are saying, ‘We needed to improve how we handled marketing communications or [how we] solicit feedback.’ Then it became a question of how to get that information into transactional CRM,” he says. “Their next question is, ‘How do I participate in the new consumer behavior?’ “
Social Technologies are Driving Business Results
by Jim Berkowitz on December 10, 2008