Social CRM FTW! (Guest Post)

Today we have a guest post from Lauren Carlson at Software Advice. I don’t normally do a lot of guest posts but Lauren asked very politely and as a big believer of social CRM, I thought this might be an interesting topic for the folks that read me on Citizen Marketer 2.1. Enjoy!

Lauren Carlson of Software Advice

Social CRM has gone from vaporware to one of the most buzzed about terms in the enterprise software market. Take a quick look at Google Insights for Search and you will see that the term’s popularity has increased exponentially over the past few years [see Google trend data below].

Paul Greenberg, the recognized thought leader in social CRM, describes it as “the company’s response to the customer’s control of the conversation.” Essentially, it takes the vendor-customer relationship from transactive to interactive. That is all fine and good, but what does that mean for companies actually using the software?

With an eye toward providing a little clarity about the space, Software Advice, decided to write up some case studies that illustrate how actual companies have implemented social CRM technologies. Each study highlights how social CRM was used to resolve real world issues and improve business operations, taking social CRM from a concept to a solution. You can view the article here and read each case study in depth. However, the following is a very brief overview in problem-solution format.

Problem: Chordiant, an enterprise software company, needed to find a better way to coordinate the needs and desires of the individuals involved in the product requirements process.

Solution: They created Chordiant Mesh, and online community powered by Jive’s Clearspace, where employees, developers, customers and partners can collaborate about product development. The feedback was very positive, resulting 15 successful collaborative product releases.

Problem: Linksys, a Cisco division that provides VoIP and networking solutions to consumers and small businesses, needed to reduce support costs while upholding high levels of customer support.

Solution: The company partnered with Lithium, an early leader in social CRM, to create an online support community. The deployment of the community increased self-service participation, which reduced the need on costly phone support. Linksys reported savings in the millions.

Problem: Enterasys Networks, a data-networking company, has hundreds of employees stationed around the globe. They required a social networking tool that would eliminated geographical boundaries and let their employees communicate in real time.

Solution: They decided to deploy Salesforce.com’s Chatter application. The company experienced improved service performance, thanks to real time collaboration on service issues. Additionally, the sales team was able to work more closely together and close a record number of deals in the first quarter after implementing Chatter.

Problem: H&R; Block, the tax preparation experts, wanted to find a way to see what their customers were talking about in order to anticipate problems before they arose.

Solution: The company decided to use Radian6’s social monitoring technology to achieve this goal. The trend analysis tool allowed the company to drill down into community conversations and see which topics were creating the most buzz. This gave them better insight, enabling H&R; Block to be more proactive in their customer service.

Problem: Pepperdine University’s business school was looking for a better way to encourage collaboration among students, staff and faculty.

Solution: They partnered with Yammer to create a Twitter-like environment where users could interact and communicate in real-time and with more transparency. They saw an increase in community participation, due to the familiar UI, which has helped to enhance the learning and teaching process.

Because it is still in its fledgling stage, Social CRM still has a few kinks that need to be worked out. However, these case studies stand as a testament to the potential of this new market segment. It will be interesting to see its growth and maturation of the coming years.