Archives For Social Media

By Clint Oram, Co-founder and CTO at SugarCRM

Think you know who in your organization is part of your customer service team? Think again. The fact is that almost every employee is potentially customer facing in today’s social era, compliments of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, to name a few.

Fifteen years ago the customer relationship management dynamic was entirely different and much more finite. Back then employees in just a handful of departments engaged with customers through traditional channels — email, phone, chat or face to face. But the landscape evolved and direct lines of communication to customers have been extended to everyone in an organization — even back-office or “invisible” employees — via social channels. (Here at SugarCRM, for example, several of our engineers might blog for us, and these blogs are read and commented on by our customers.) This practice is not unique to SugarCRM. Many companies encourage their employees to responsibly engage with customers via Google+, Twitter or other social channels.

Unfettered access to a range of employees is a major benefit to customers who want to consocial-customer-care-1nect with company representatives apart from those in the marketing, sales or customer service departments. Today’s customers want to make a human connection with “regular people,” and know, like and trust those they do business with. Social media facilitates this type of connection. But the challenge is ensuring customer engagement is consistent and effective across the company regardless of which communication channel is used. It’s also important to provide value to the customer in each interaction, so having critical, up-to-date customer information at hand is critical throughout the customer journey.

In a recent article on ZDNet, best-selling author, Paul Greenberg, argues that customer’s voices, amplified by social media these days, makes them feel entitled to an amazing customer experience at the speed of light and woe to companies that don’t give it to them. He also goes on to say that if companies want to provide an amazing experience, they really need to understand, and be in close contact with, their customers. They need to be engaged with their customers. What a concept!

So, how do you stay ahead of this challenge and create a customer-centric culture at your company? Here’s a start:

  • Choose a CRM system that extends across the organization to all employees. With traditional CRM systems, we see that they are typically relegated to users in marketing, sales and support. If CRM was extended to everyone in the organization, imagine the customer relationships that could be nurtured and imagine the level of customer satisfaction that could be achieved.
  • Pick a CRM that is social-ready with an advanced user experience. Sugar helps you manage all social interactions with collaboration tools and contextual intelligence within a single dashboard.  This turns every individual into a customer expert by uniquely personalizing their interactions, creating a 360-degree customer view and driving true customer loyalty.
  • Recognize that great customer service is not solved by technology, but rather supported by it. Truly becoming customer-centric may require significant cultural changes inside an organization. Invest in this initiative. By getting every potential customer-facing employee to understand the value that they bring to the organization as a brand ambassador, and equipping them with the tools and information to facilitate superior customer experiences, the results will be overwhelmingly positive.

In our hyper-connected world, it’s imperative that all employees have the same access to customer information to deliver a consistent experience and avoid appearing fragmented and siloed. In essence, all employees can/should evolve into “customer experts.” This is how you ensure customer experience integrity is maintained in the 21st century.

This mission has guided SugarCRM throughout its decade-long history — well before the social media wave hit our shores. The company was, after all, founded on the idea that customer relationship management is more than marketing, sales or customer support automation. We have always inherently championed the individual, and emphasized that each customer-facing employee (these days that means everyone with a Twitter handle or Facebook profile) should be empowered to create extraordinary customer relationships.

The following is a guest post from Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst, CRM, Ovum.  ext Jeremy Cox

It is always reassuring  when a firm takes its own medicine and uses some of the same portfolio of products that it recommends to its customers. I refer of course to IBM’s global deployment of Sugar, integrated with many of IBM’s Smarter Commerce applications, to support a 45,000+ strong sales force. IBM’s Smarter Commerce portfolio, provides  customers with the tools to create a fully integrated all-channel,  informed and joined up customer experience.  Sugar works together with the Smarter Commerce portfolio and provides the user-centered  interface into all relevant customer information to provide what Ovum calls smart, connected interactions.

The Smarter Commerce story is relevant to multiple industries, both B2B and B2C or combinations. Irrespective of industry there are several common attributes that have to be orchestrated in a coherent manner if firms are to gain advantage from the Smarter Commerce portfolio including Sugar. Every industry is under intense competitive pressure in the face of rising customer expectations, globalization and the impact of social and mobile on customer behaviors and preferences.  The ability to be persistently relevant to customers by providing them with rewarding experiences across any and all channels through which they want to interact with a firm is a massive challenge facing all industries. Some like retail are particularly exposed to disruption as Amazon extends its reach and capacity, or lower cost competitors reach out to customers with more compelling offerings.

The old certainties and ways of doing business call for much deeper thinking and a more coherent approach to omni-channel commerce.

Ovum has identified 8 attributes successful firms orchestrate to gain this level of coherence. These are:

  1. Visionary leadership that seeks to put the customer at the center and orchestrates the firm’s capabilities and improvement initiatives in a coherent, connected way in support of a common goal – creating value for customers. Without this silos will flourish and impede the customer experience.
  2. Visionary leadership is also responsible for an engaged workforce, the second attribute. A workforce imbued with a set of values that builds trust with customers as well as internally with colleagues and the ecosystem of suppliers and partners is a powerful force for fostering great customer experiences. It is not just front line employees that provide moments of truth, but back office, finance, supply and distribution personnel, etc. All can have an impact. IBM’s Smarter Commerce helps connect people and Sugar’s user interface that puts the individual at the heart of the design supports greater workforce engagement and as a result a great customer experience.
  3. The ability to collaborate across and beyond the organization  in the pursuit of value creation and delivery, for customers. IBM Connections together with Sugar helps leverage this critical attribute.
  4. Acute sensing capabilities that drive real time insight and predictive foresight helps everyone in touch with the customer to have meaningful and relevant interactions. It also helps customers who prefer to serve themselves to find what they are seeking with minimal fuss and maximum convenience. The combination of IBM Cognos ,IBM Interact which provides realtime recommendations, IBM Tealeaf and Sugar ensures the right contextual information reaches the right people at the right time and in an intuitive consumable form, irrespective of the device used.
  5. A seamless and integrated customer experience across any channel with no loss of information  provides the true 360 degree  contextual view of the customer. SugarCRM has long advocated a deeper integration with the organization to deliver this. This contrasts with the typical triumvirate view of CRM being – sales, marketing and service (often in that order). That ‘typical view’ adds little value and belongs to the old command-and-control industrial era of the 20th century.
  6. The ability to innovate continuously and refresh the value that customers receive is the other essential ingredient for persistent customer relevance . Firms which succeed at this draw on ideas well beyond the traditional product development team; from customers, partners and the entire workforce. But innovation is not just about new products. It is also about developing new ways of engaging with customers that add greater value and magic moments that turn them into raging fans.
  7. Lean, simplified and connected processes across the value chain or network. The omni channel experience absolutely requires deeper thinking and a more horizontal view of how value is created and streamed across the organization and its ecosystem of suppliers and partners. Simply grafting on new digital channels will lead to failure and frustrate customers.
  8. An adaptive enterprise architecture that provides a coherent visualization of how the organization works as a system to deliver its customer centric vision and goals, is also an important attribute. Tweaking existing business models is unlikely to be sufficient and old legacy systems and legacy thinking will impede progress.

IBM’s Smarter Commerce with SugarCRM supports these attributes either directly or indirectly.  IBM’s Interactive Experience practice can help firms design and think through the detail required to deliver positive and memorable customer experiences across any and all channels. SugarCRM’s services team works in partnership with IBM to help firms take advantage of the highly elastic capabilities of Sugar.

About the Author

Jeremy Cox is principal analyst in Ovum’s global Customer Engagement Practice. Jeremy joined Ovum in July 2012, and quickly established the broader customer-adaptive enterprise context identifying 8 core attributes that organizations need if they are to be persistently relevant to their customers: leadership, an engaged workforce, collaborative, sensing capabilities to generate insight and foresight, a superior customer experience, continuous innovation, connected and frictionless processes and an adaptive enterprise architecture.

@jeremycoxcrm

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jeremycox/

 

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4

Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will revisit the some of the same social selling topics as our previous post but with more useful tips and tricks. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Selling through social channels (a.k.a. social selling) is not only an art, but a science. New social channels are emerging every week, only increasing the surface area of digital touchpoints a customer or prospect may have. Those who know how to leverage their networks and hone the power of social media are able to excel in the ever changing sales landscape.

Sales 2.0

Sales 2.0 – Source: Forbes

Salespeople are more likely to meet or exceed their quotas if they engage on social media.
(Dynamic Signal)

Studies have been done to prove this point and salespeople are missing the boat ride to sales success. The following articles will teach you how to be a social selling specialist in no time.

5 Steps for Creating a Successful Social Selling Strategy
One of the golden rules in social selling is to identify where your prospective customers are spending time online. Being able to recognize who your customer is, where they spend their time, and what they like to do can be the driving factor in what closes a deal. Seth Price writes a simple 5 step process for developing your own successful social selling strategy.
tweet_button

How to Use Twitter Hashtags as a Prospecting Tool
Let’s face it, Twitter is a loud party and sometimes it is hard to hear through the noise. Beyond the clamor hides some of your most relevant and valuable prospects. Twitter can provide a certain level of audience targeting through their Hashtag functionality in order to reach and engage with your next customer.
tweet_button

Social Selling Action Plan: Seek A Warm Relationship
Social media is no longer about what someone had for lunch. Your future customers are waiting for you to contact them in the places they spend the most time. Matt Foulger will teach you how to turn cold calls into warm calls, gain a 360-degree view of your prospect, push intelligence from social media into your CRM, as well as various social engagement methods.
tweet_button

The 10-60-30 Rule of Social Selling
Social Selling is more about the approach rather than the use of a number of tools. Over the course of time, this has evolved into a daily routine. My experience has demonstrated that the different steps and tools must be interwoven with everything you do during the day.” – Mic Adam
tweet_button

We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. Go to where your customers are. They’re waiting for your targeted, personalized, and meaningful engagement. Got ideas for other great articles and topics we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

Leading organizations are increasing their use of digital mechanisms for the business processes of buying, marketing, selling, and servicing. To do this, many organizations are turning to IBM’s Smarter Commerce and IBM Enterprise Marketing Management. Marketing automation tools like IBM Campaign and Interact, along with Silverpop, are great for defining multi touch campaigns, cross-channel marketing across digital channels, and real time personalizations for customers on electronic store fronts.

But what happens when a customer – who may have received an offer driven from IBM Campaign – calls into a customer service center? Does the customer service agent who answers the phone – let’s say it’s John –  have a history of that customer’s past interactions, and have the right information to answer that customer’s questions? Even better, can the customer service agent reinforce an offer that may have already been presented to the customer via IBM marketing automation offerings?

What happens if a sales person – let’s say it’s Sally – is about to call on that customer? Sally could be an inside sales rep, or an insurance agent, or a personal shopper in retail. Does Sally know everything about her customer including the fact that that customer might have received an offer through email that was generated by a campaign management tool? To take that a step further – if a campaign management tool generates 1000 leads, does Sally know that seven of those leads are her customers, and does she know exactly what to do with those seven leads?

We know that IBM Campaign can precisely target a specific set of customers. But imagine if Sally, upon signing in for her work day, sees seven specific new leads that are assigned to her from that campaign, along with specific actionable information for those leads. Imagine if John, our customer service agent, was able to pull up a complete view of the customer as he was helping resolve that customer’s issues; and could even upsell the customer based on a real-time offer appearing in his customer service dashboard.

SugarCRM, an IBM Global Alliance partner, can help. Sugar is an innovative CRM system designed for every individual who engages with customers: sellers, marketers, customer support agents, receptionists, and executives.

r4_smarter_commerce.jpgSugar has integrations into IBM Campaign to surface campaign information into sellers’ daily tools, whether that be Sugar itself or IBM Notes or Connections. Sugar also has integrations to IBM Interact to present real-time offers to sellers and customer service agents. Sugar is the first major CRM solution to be validated for the IBM Ready for Smarter Commerce mark. DiGi Telecommunications is one customer using IBM Campaign integrated to SugarCRM to provide consistency across digital marketing programs and human sales and service representatives.

Organizations that integrate SugarCRM and IBM experience faster campaign-to-cash times,  more efficient marketing and sales processes, and higher customer satisfaction and value.

For more information, see sugarcrm.com/ibm, or come visit us at SugarCon, April 28-May 1 in San Francisco, or the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2014 in Tampa, Florida May 12-15.

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4
Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will explore the power of social media within the enterprise in regards to CRM. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Is your business socially-enabled? Have you dismantled your company’s organizational silos? Does your organization possess to the tools that empower individuals to more effectively engage with their customers?

By department, the largest users of social media in enterprises are marketing (with 78% using social media to a moderate to great extent), IT (64%), sales (63%), and customer service (62%). The functions using social media least are operations (46%), supply chain operations (36%), risk management (35%) and finance (28%). (Deloitte University Press)

In order for a company to function effectively in today’s business world, every customer facing employee from customer service, all the way to the C-suite need to participate in the conversation in order to facilitate higher quality customer engagement. The following articles share studies and insights about integrating social media into your business, and also offer an opportunity to learn first-hand from experts within the industry on creating a consistent client experience from administration to sales.

Effective Social Media in your CRM: Loyalty
“Both B2B and B2C companies are relying on CRM to organise these insights about what customers are doing and buying, and to help establish predictive ability to know what and where to target next.” – Simon Chapman

Understanding who your customer is, what they care about, and what they like to do can help complete their 360-degree view to facilitate a consistent customer experience with anyone in the organization who interacts with the customer.

Don’t miss Simon’s track session on Social CRM at this year’s SugarCon – Register here!
tweet_button

From Social Media to Social CRM-KAM
This presentation by IBM’s Friedel Jonker highlights the social business transformation that IBM underwent in order to help other businesses become  fully socially-enabled enterprises. Their journey investigates the early technologies of customer relationship management (CRM) and key account management (KAM) and later explores the importance of putting the individual back into the social enterprise. IBM defines a social enteprise as “any company or organization that has integrated and operationalized social media within every job function to generate and implement value driving ideas by smarter processes and technology.”
tweet_button

CRM, Omnichannel and the Quest for Customer Intimacy
“CRM has promised to create a complete, holistic view of the customer, but failed to break organizational silos and to deliver better customer experience.” – Gregory Yankelovich

Gregory acknowledges the trend in global population growth as it is apparent that it there are no plans of it to slow down. As the global reach of the enterprise increases, the customer’s demands and expectations do as well.
tweet_button

Creating Exceptional Customer Experiences with Social CRM
Sign up for this free webinar presented by SugarCRM, IBM, and Highland Solutions (4/10 3:00 p.m. EST) that will discuss: engaging Customer 2.0 and the benefits of being customer-centric, empowering employees with integrated social business technology, creating a consistent client experience from administration to sales, and more.
tweet_button

Put the individual back into CRM and into the social enterprise. I hope this was helpful for you and your businesses wherever you are in your social business transformation. Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4
Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will offer valuable insights to help jumpstart your customer loyalty program. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Creating an amazing customer experience can create customer evangelists. Although, how can you measure the value of a satisfied customer who isn’t loyal? Shep Hyken says it best:

There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.
    ~ Shep Hyken

Did I also mention that Shep will be our keynote at this year’s SugarCon? The following will be a list of articles that can be used as a guide to revitalize your overall loyalty program, or give it a little boost.

Effective Social Media in your CRM: Loyalty
Social CRM can often complete the complete 360-degree customer view that companies rely on to communicate a consistent customer experience. Knowing exactly who your customers are will allow you to help serve them timely, relevant, and engaging content through the right social channel.
tweet_button

How To Use Technology, Brains, and Service To Build Customer Loyalty
It’s here that you shift your customers’ perception of your company out of the “they’re perfectly fine for now” to “they’re my one and only.”” – Micah Solomon

Technology can’t foster customer relationships alone. However, by combining well-trained employees with the tools needed in order to create an extraordinary customer experience, you’ve created an opportunity demonstrate value to your customers and drive customer loyalty.
tweet_button

Finding Benefits in SMB Loyalty Programs [Infographic]
How do you view customer loyalty for your SMB? This infographic explores the benefits of a loyalty program and exposes opportunities for you to take advantage of to leverage your customer base and keep them coming back for more.
tweet_button

4 Sharp Tools for Honing Reseller Loyalty
This article focuses more on managing relationship within your extended sales force: the channel. Providing support through an indirect channel is like playing a lethal game of telephone in customer service.

“It’s repeatedly been said that service is the secret to loyalty. Most of the time, that’s said in reference to direct customers — but it applies even more so to the indirect channel.” – Christopher J. Bucholtz
tweet_button

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this week’s roundup and have a newfound insight on loyalty. Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (June 2013) Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Found in a recent Gartner survey, 77% of American consumers go online looking for incentives relating to a purchase, and nearly one in two of them go online searching for effective problem solving. Meanwhile, as many as four times the number of people see a negative tweet as see a positive one. Wouldn’t it be better to see these people quickly and help them solve their problems, creating a positive brand awareness on social media rather than leave a negative perception of the brand?

By gaining visibility to customers’ social profiles, companies can discover who acts as brand advocates and influencers: who on Twitter posts positive messages (or negative ones) about customer service, who shares a particular buying experience by photographing a shirt or tie they recently bought on Instagram, or even who is connected to whom on LinkedIn to develop better in-roads into winning that all-important contract. The choices are endless.

Both B2B and B2C companies are relying on CRM to organise these insights about what customers are doing and buying, and to help establish predictive ability to know what and where to target next.

CRM gives this complete customer view by providing a single context of what the customer is doing — such as total wallet spend, or spending patterns — with a single entry point to not only analyse it, but to react to the information. Business rules and marketing drip campaigns can be driven off this data, but companies also gain the ability to see which individuals are brand ambassadors and who would be key to any successful loyalty programme integration.

Loyalty is a key theme at the moment, with many businesses seeking to not only maximize what they know about their customers, but to then enhance it with predictive behaviours and analysis that reward loyal customers and evangelists for the brand, and drive customers with similar behaviours to become stellar and vocal brand advocates.

At SugarCon 2014, I’ll be presenting on “Effective Social Media in your CRM” – we’ll be continuing this discussion on the use of social CRM to power effective loyalty programmes, as well as its application in targeted marketing campaigns and real-time customer support. Demonstrations of these systems in action will be showcased, along with customer stories of successful social CRM programmes for both B2B and B2C companies. I encourage you to attend this session to jumpstart your own consideration and integration of social CRM into your business!