Magazine article CRM Magazine

The New Behavior of the Social Customer: Divining the Right Path Requires the Right Data

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The New Behavior of the Social Customer: Divining the Right Path Requires the Right Data

Article excerpt

IMAGINE A DO-IT-YOURSELFER opting to hook up the components of a new home-theater system herself. What if the process turns out to be more complex than anticipated? Back in the day, that person might've called the electronics store she purchased from, or sought assistance by dialing a toll-free number listed in the product manual. Today, instead of contacting the seller or manufacturer, she'd go online, lament on Twitter about the incomprehensible directions, reach out to Facebook buddies, and ask her social network to offer guidance.

Consumer behavior is very different today than it was when CRM was born in the early 1990s. Every company must adjust accordingly, positioning itself as a resource not only to service a customer--through whatever channel or channels the customer chooses--but also to attract, upsell, and cross-sell for repeat business.

With more than 400 million Facebook users each listing an average of 130 friends, and more than 65 million people twittering about everything and anything, social media now has a leading role in customer behavior and expectations. Companies need to get ahead of this curve, or consumers will direct the future of their brands.

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The right data is critical--too much data and the insights from it will be too few. With the right data, companies can create an integrated framework that (a) employs quantitative methods to derive actionable insights from data, then (b) uses those insights to shape business decisions and improve outcomes--this is analytics.

The application of analytics to customer data can enable companies to design multichannel approaches based on a thorough understanding of customer preferences in channel, product and service features, pricing, and behavior from consideration to post-purchase. While that may inform the required CRM architecture for a specific point in time, in today's world this can't just be a one-time effort.

As soon as a company sets its CRM blueprint to include a social CRM strategy, a competitor will up the ante, driving more demand for new and better services, information, and access to the product or the service itself. Keeping pace requires that companies have the flexibility to make incremental changes at Internet speed and manage services and content accordingly. …

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