Customers’ buying behaviors and businesses’ engagement models are shifting. Traditional is out, next-gen is in. Today it is the customer who influences and forces the evolution of business models. Cloud-based Internet peer networks drive the buying decisions for large segments of customers. Enterprises will inevitably need to adopt mobility and social media platforms to keep up with the next generation.
Today’s consumers already have globally visible footprints in terms of their opinions, feedback, and perceptions of various brands. Collective sentiments developing on social networks and in peer communities are influencing consumer choices and buying behavior. Social media platforms will be the next-generation battleground of brand and customer loyalty.
The importance of Customer 2.0
Is your organization ready to do business with “Customer 2.0”? Social CRM gives you a real-time sense of customer preferences and opinions. Social CRM helps you listen to relevant social media conversations so that you can take proactive steps to create untapped business opportunities.
With Social CRM, you can leverage your customer’s trusted peer network to create widespread positive brand perceptions and generate new leads. You can engage customers in conversations through social media networks to provide a more personalized experience. Finally, you can make the consumer your partner in product co-creation for win-win outcomes.
Many conversations on this theme have grabbed the attention of those at the C-level. Across the globe, consumers are hooked on social networking. The way they interact with brands is changing. The way they make buying decisions is changing. Consumers have moved beyond consuming information — now they share experiences, knowledge and activities on new platforms. Hence, it has become critical for organizations to interact in a way that is more relevant and appealing to them.
How Organizations Are dealing With Customer 2.0
Different industry segments have reached different levels of adoption and maturity of their social media for CRM functions. Business-to-Customer (B2C) businesses seem to be on a steeper trajectory when compared to Business to Business (B2B) firms. Most of the early adopters of social CRM are consumer packaged goods, telecom, high tech, manufacturing and services industries. However, all industries leverage social media for their marketing, sales and service functions at varied levels, based on the customer behavior and sales cycle.
Banks and financial services have been relatively moderate in their adoption rate of social CRM, restricting its usage primarily to listening, analyzing and meeting customer needs apart from customer support. Issues such as data privacy, user authentication and sensitivity of bank information, coupled with regulatory stringency, make social CRM an initiative that needs to be implemented with forethought and strategic vision.
A snapshot of key activities of the leading banks and FIs in the social CRM space: