• The Next Step in Market Research

    As far as business strategies go, in most cases market research is a component of the marketing budget. This organized effort to gather information about markets and customers is, of course, only as important as the company understands it to be.

    However, the importance of Market Research is about to increase exponentially.

    We’ve come up with a new feature for our Network CRM application which will act as a kind of an add-on to our Feedback Module. How does this work? Let’s see if I can explain it simple enough, in a hypothetical case study, in the wider scheme of all Clintelica essential things.

    1. The user logs in to the app, downloads contacts, shares with other colleagues.

    2. The user then adds prospects to the CRM as tasks, sets up meetings, closes the deal.

    3. The user handles the client within the CRM by way of the Newsfeed feature, that pushes information on all relevant projects.

    4. Upon ending a project, the user can program automated feedback forms to the client.

    5. After responding to a feedback form, the satisfied client will then be able to share his satisfaction scores on social networks.

    Now, this simple latest feature takes Market Research beyond it’s usual status, making it ever more important in Marketing. If we say, for example, that out of 100.000 client respondents that are satisfied, 10% share their experience on social networks, that means 10.000 people will basically advertise the respective brand by way of the most trustable experience: user generated review & recommendation. Keeping in mind that a regular user has around 634 contacts on average, that means the brand will benefit from being exposed to roughly 6.000.000 people.

    And when you compare the cost of reaching 6.000.000 people through conventional channels to the simple option of being recommended by your clients through a simple click in a CRM application you already use, it’s obvious which way the balance shifts.

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  • Rules of Customer Engagement and Social Media as a Tool

    Stumbled upon an interesting blog post the other day on Software Advice.

    After a sit down with Brian Solis, a rather careful consideration of some Razorfish studies and some common sense observations about how the interactions between companies and customers have changed over the years (first of all because of the internet and lately, because of social media & mobile devices), Lauren Carlson points her story  at the 6 Rules of Engagement, or what we can basically call the Solis definition of engagement, as the next level of relationships between companies and customers.

    According to this, consumers in the Egosystem want value, efficiency, trust, consistency, relevancy and control from the companies they interact with. And if this is what the customer wants, then that’s what most socially aware companies will try to give them.

    But that’s only part of the problem, solved. Because after figuring out what the customer wants and what to give him, the next step – equally important, I might add – is to find out the best way to deliver all these things. Most companies that realize the importance of reaching their customers through social media already have the usual channels at their disposal. They will have a Facebook page or a Twitter account in play, only there’s more to Social CRM strategies than business pages on these websites.

    The Satisfaction – Engagement Loop

    In order to properly engage the customers, companies have to consider two things: first of all, the technological side – the platform that actually supports the engagement – and then the cultural climate of the organization itself, which has to be the actual resource of the engagement. As long as the people behind the company understand and relate to the cultural obsession towards the customer, then things are bound to move in the right… engaging direction. The only thing that remains is now to properly close the circle and provide the users inside the organization with the proper technological tools to keep the customers satisfied. But how?

    Integrating Companies with Social Media. Or the other way around.

    Now, after understanding the Satisfaction – Engagement Loop, there’s two ways companies handle the social appeal to customers. There are those who look at their business and then start acting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube or LinkedIn, and there are those who first of all develop a Social CRM and then try to connect with the customer through social media platforms.

    What we have found out developing the Clintelica Network CRM application though, is that Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Youtube or LinkedIn are all amazing in themselves, but they are also distinct communities where not only the the way of engagement differs, but also the response of the customer (if any) is different.

    So, in order to properly engage an organization with it’s customers (especially when we’re talking about 100+ employees, hundreds or thousands of customers and suppliers), you need to have a powerful CRM system that works in a perfect, traditional way,  offers features that enable you to manage & understand huge amounts of information (Newsfeed), and then gives you the the opportunity to use Social Media to reach the connected customer, keeping him satisfied through Networking and understanding his Feedback instantly.

    OK, boundaries are changing every minute, mobile gadgets are becoming socially acceptable in Theaters and probably tomorrow reading Zite stories on your iPad in a face-to-face meeting will not be considered rude anymore. But in order for the customer engagement to be meaningful, it’s becoming more and more clear that social media platforms should be the tool and not the purpose.

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