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Geeky Introverts No More: How Tech Companies Can Engage with Customers Using Social CRM

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For technology companies, adopting social CRM is critical for better understanding consumer preferences and responding with offers and services that meet their needs.

For technology companies, adopting social CRM is critical for better understanding consumer preferences and responding with offers and services that meet their needs.

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  • 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsGeeky Introverts No More:How Tech Companies Can Engagewith Customers Using Social CRM Executive Summary by employees to make a buying decision. Instead, now they trust the advice of friends, colleagues, While change and adaptability to change are relatives and unknown fellow customers more business constants , one thing that hasn’t changed than that of the organization and its employees. is that “The customer is always right.” Thus, technology companies need to realize and Both established and start-up technology com- account for the fact that buying intent, or brand panies are dabbling in social network technology. positioning, takes place much earlier than ever However, they have yet to make the leap in terms before. of leveraging social media to enable marketing, Technology companies have only recently real- sales, product management and customer service ized that traditional ways of reaching out to the functions to deliver better business results. customer are changing fast, and that social media Across the online, software and high-tech space, is a critical channel for connecting with the largest most companies have built a social identity that segment of their customers. This has given rise combines a Facebook presence with Twitter, LinkedIn and other tools. Only a few have taken the next step to integrate social tools for listening, Social Media’s Ascendance conversing and reaching out to customers. 81% of respondents said they’d received advice The explosion in social networking has moved from friends and followers relating to a product the practice of sharing information to a more purchase through a social site. meaningful plane, one in which businesses can harness consumer preferences and insights to 90% of consumers online trust recommenda- gain a competitive advantage. The sharing of infor- tions from people they know. mation on social forums regarding opinions and experiences across various products and services 83% of online shoppers are interested in is now a key influencer in the decision-making sharing information of their purchases to process (see Figure 1). This is in striking contrast people they know. with the traditional consumer experience, where customers visit stores and request information Source: Nielsen for a product and rely on the information provided Figure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights | october 2011
  • 2. Evolution of Social CRM Social CRM Monitoring/ Interconnecting Layer Traditional CRM Conversation/ Customer Collaboration layer Owned Data Data Process Mining Process RSS Forums Support Layer Support Layer Account Management Blogs Account Management Contact Management Contact Management Widgets Activity Management APIs Tags Activity Management Lead Management Lead Management Campaign Management Campaign Management Ranking Service Management Wikis Service Management Open Id Sales Management Sales Management Social Microblogs SaaS Networks Podcast / Video sharing Cloud Automate and Support Internal Computing Business Processes Brand Monitoring Services Community Creation Internally & ExternallyFigure 2to a new discipline of CRM called social CRM SCRM Challenges for Technology(SCRM) (see Figure 2). SCRM pundit Paul Green- Companiesberg says, “Social CRM is engaging in a collabora- While the aforementioned companies havetive conversation with the customer in order to tapped social media as a customer communica-provide a mutually beneficial value in a trusted tions channel, the overwhelming majority haveand transparent business environment.”1 been slow to leverage social networking as anWhile many technology companies now under- integrated and potent sales and marketing toolstand the business importance of SCRM, few have because of the complexities of integrating socialmade it an integral part of their larger market- media into established operations. The first seting and process improvement efforts. This white of challenges for technology companies withpaper discusses how technology companies can most social media initiatives is the lack of longer-leverage SCRM to better understand consumer term support by senior management, failure topreferences and respond with offers and services properly develop a cohesive SCRM strategy andthat more appropriately serve their needs. a lack of metrics to measure success. Moreover, these campaigns often lack the back-end supportSocial Media Emerges in the needed to convert opportunities into profits. AsTechnology Space a result, many initiatives do not return desired results, or lack marketing punch, giving seniorSome technology companies have taken steps management additional reason to remain non-to reach out to customers through social media committal. The second set of challenges thesecampaigns via sponsored Tweets, featured organizations face is how to effectively engageYouTube channels, LinkedIn spots, Facebook their channel partners, enterprise customers,posts, etc. and are tracking social sites (like consumers and associates in real time.Twitter and Foursquare) to monitor and assessfeedback and requirements even before inquiries To successfully leverage social media and gener-reach the customer service desk. Some examples ate business benefits, a comprehensive strategyof corporate use of social media are shown in covering front-end, back-office and metrics toFigure 3. measure results is a must. The initiative should span all aspects of social networking, includ- cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  • 3. SCRM’s Functional Fit Social CRM Online Software High-Tech Examples Vendors use social media to gather Software c vendors use social Vendors promote their new products responses, blogs new features and media to generate product launch and/or new features via social collect feedbacks on the Internet to buzz, Adobe, for example, used media channels. Cisco, for example, Marketing promote their brand names. social media as a part of experi- sponsored Twitter keywords to mental tactics for launching new generate buzz and excitement around products such as Creative Suite 5. an event showcasing the launch of the Cius Tablet. Social media gives buyers a voice Software companies such as Social media can be used as an on product reviews and feedback TurboTax leverage reviews and additional sales channel. Dell has to attract new buyers. Amazon TurboTax Social Hub to help surpassed $3 million in sales via links Sales leverages both product reviews and consumers with their buying from one of its Twitter accounts. users with strong reputations to offer decisions. testimonial reviews of products sold organically. Social media enables vendors to Social media enables vendors to Social media enables vendors to partner with their resellers to drive provide better and faster customer crowdsource new features, submit more traffic to their stores, eBay service while reducing support requests and knowledge sharing. launched eBay Ink Social Media costs. Intuit QuickBooks Live VMware uses multiple social media Service Seller program to drive traffic to its Community helps users exchange channels to promote knowledge social medial seller profiles and/or helpful information to quickly solve content, communicate relevant industry their e-commerce stores. technical challenges, which has content and events through various reduced customer service calls. industry- specific Twitter feeds.Figure 3ing creating social communities for interaction, from active listening, must be analyzed andpositive communications, listening solutions, converted into intelligence that can be incorpo-analytics and a strong back-office to convert this rated into actions that help companies engageintelligence into action. In a technology industry with customers, improve service delivery andcontext, the SCRM approach can be broadly clas- deliver measurable results.sified into three components (see Figure 4). • Customer and Partner Development: Tech-Specific to the technology space, companies need nology companies need to create social com-to apply these emerging social CRM approaches munities and engage with members to createin the following ways: positive sentiment and build trust. VMware, for Technology companies• Social Media Listening and Analytics: Tech example, created focused need to create social companies should gather feedback, questions, communities with discus- sion forums, self-help communities and suggestions, etc. through listening solutions and analyze these inputs to generate intelli- groups and online chat engage with members gence for devising consumer strategies. They capabilities to support to create positive can listen to user content in key tech social various subgroups, such as industry best practices, sentiment and networking sites (such as Mashable.com, TechCrunch.com and Twitter) to capture spotlights and industry build trust. information on products, perceptions and leader blogs. The commu- services and use business intelligence tools nity is engaged and run by users to collaborate to help formulate strategies to improve their and exchange ideas while companies can use it products, services and communications. Ideas to share news, press releases and other forms on strategy and implementation should also of content. be gathered from all internal stakeholders through blogging, wikis and other forms of idea • Sales and Marketing, Product Management and content sharing, since the best ideas come and Service Delivery: Having a social media from the grassroots level. This data, gathered presence and interacting with consumers cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  • 4. Compartmentalizing Social CRM Tools to leverage Activity Implementation Approach Social Capabilities Create social • Community creation and management: Build focused • Jive Technologies, Lithium, communities and communities with discussion forums and self-help groups. Liferay and open source Customer and engage with them Gather feedback, questions, suggestions, ideas, etc. software such as Drupal, Partner to create positive • News publishing and awareness creation. Joomla. Community sentiments and build • Corporate branding and public relations. Development trust. • Internal collaboration across teams for idea generation and content sharing. Listening solutions for • Listen to the user-generated content in key tech social • Network Hippo, Radian6, information capture networking sites. biz360,Omniture, Nielsen and analysis. • Capture, process and cleanse info. BuzzMetrics, Cognizant Social Media Customer Listening • Feed the social media insights into strong analytics and BI Listening & solutions. Convert raw data into opportunities that can be Solution (CLS). Analytics harnessed and provide measurable results. • Compare current sentiment vs. historical sentiment and perform trend analysis. Synthesize information • Capture and store sales leads and opportunities in • Variety of Analytics and design solutions CRM Application. and Marketing & Sales to engage, retain and • Product development: Design innovative products suitable Enablement tools Sales and influence customers for a specific group of customers. including SAS, Oracle and Marketing, in specific market • Feed marketing insights to the marketing and product Salesforce.com. Product segments. group to design promotions, campaigns, surveys and Management product enhancements. & Service • Process improvement: Effectively use feedback to improve Delivery servicing and originations processes. • Customer information management and profiling. • Improve customer service and issue resolution.Figure 4 is necessary, but not sufficient, to leverage cess excellence — and even more so today. SCRM for competitive market advantage. The Over the past six years, Intuit’s user com- SCRM infrastructure needs to feed consumer munity for its TurboTax products, Inner sentiments into a strong analytics and BI Circle, has more than 25,000 members engine to convert raw data into opportunities and has become an integral part of the Tur- and leads that can be harnessed to provide boTax product updating and improvement measurable results. The information captured plan. SCRM can help build positive brand through SCRM must be leveraged to boost image through community creation, aware- sales and improve perception, products and ness creation, corporate branding, public services. Doing this requires the following: relation campaigns and crowdsourcing for new product and service development. > Services Analysis Solution: Companies can leverage information captured through > Sales Analysis Solution: With so much SCRM tools and infrastructure to identify advertising noise and so many options, process gaps and inefficiencies in custom- customer acquisition is a big challenge for er service and improve processes that will technology companies. Listening to and have maximum impact on enhancing cus- analyzing customer comments on various tomer experience. They will be surprised to social networks can help identify potential learn that most of the complaints pivot on a customers and provide insights into prod- lack of communication and clarity. ucts consumers are looking for or want companies to offer. This analysis will help > Product/Brand Analysis Solution: In all launch new products or services that are technology companies, positive publicity already in demand. and brand image are as important as pro- cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  • 5. Moving Forward and support a company’s products and services. Engaging the right social media listening andDemographic, social and behavioral shifts have analytic approach can help companies to betterimplications for all businesses. The increased analyze and react to customer needs. Alignmentabundance of social networks and media usage and integration with sales and marketing, producthas led to a change in customer behavior when development and service delivery will bring trueit comes to deciding on what products and end-to-end social CRM execution.services to purchase. This is even more importantfor businesses where customer experience is Technology companies that successfully imple-a key factor, such as the technology industry. ment social CRM will have distinct listening own-Companies need to adapt in order to remain ership of customers through social media chan-competitive. Many technology companies have nels and have the ability to directly influence thenoticed this shift and have made efforts in social decision-making experience. Additionally, thosechannels in order to engage and influence their companies that are further able to effectivelycustomers. The usual outcome is a set of mixed optimize and maximize social CRM efforts will beresults due to a number of factors caused by not able to quickly react to customer needs throughhaving the right social CRM strategy. metrics and analytics and exceed expectations through effectively delivering for those needsSocial CRM incorporates a set of strategically — thus helping to enable those same customersaligned activities in order to produce optimal to positively influence new, prospective custom-results within the social media space. The devel- ers through the social network channels andopment of a social community with partners and beyond.customers can be used as a channel to market, sellFootnotes1 http://www.insideview.com/social-crm.htmlReferences“Five Steps for Succeeding with Social Media and Delivering an Enhanced Customer Experience,”Dileep Srinivasan, Cognizant Technology Solutions, June 2011.“Five Steps for Succeeding with Social Media and Delivering an Enhanced Customer Experience,”“Why Your Company Needs to Embrace Social CRM,” http://mashable.com/2010/05/21/social-crm/.“Social CRM: The New Rules of Customer Relationship Management,”http://thechrisvossshow.com/social-crm-the-new-rules-of-customer-relationship-management/.“35-Plus Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action,”http://mashable.com/2008/07/23/corporate-social-media/.About the AuthorsAbhijeet Khadilkar is a Director within Cognizant’s Business Consulting practice, where he advisestechnology companies on sales enablement and business transformation. Abhijeet can be reached atabhijeet.khadilkar@cognizant.com.Tom Pai is a Manager within Cognizant’s Business Consulting practice focused on helping technologycompanies with customer experience, customer support strategy, social media enablement andenterprise technology business challenges. Tom can be reached at tom.pai@cognizant.com.Yupeng Gao is a Consultant in Cognizant’s Technology Solutions practice. He is currently working ona variety of social media marketing, social CRM, Web analytics and process management consultingengagements. Yupeng can be reached at yupeng.gao@cognizant.com. cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  • 6. About CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 118,000 employees as of June 30, 2011, Cognizant is a member of theNASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing andfastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: inquiry@cognizant.com Email: infouk@cognizant.com Email: inquiryindia@cognizant.com© Copyright 2011, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.