What does “social” mean? It’s easy to get lost in the social jargon that is rampant in the business world: social enterprise, social media, social applications and other buzz phrases. When it comes down to it, being social is about interacting with and knowing each other. It is important to all businesses to know their customers. This is not a revolutionary idea, but now businesses can use social tools to better understand their customers.
Previously, customer relationship management (CRM) application makers could define their solutions as tools that tracked sales opportunities. Now, with the rise of social CRM, these applications need to manage changing relationships between a company and its customers and partners. To do so requires teaching a CRM system some new tricks. True social CRM must understand selected services, changes in packages, usage billing payments and social sentiment.
Businesses can use social media to monitor their customer engagement to build and handle relationships. However, adding in selected services, transactions and financial data to a customer’s social profile offers information to better understand those relationships. The process begins when a quote is provided to a prospect, and it extends to the time the customer pays and beyond. To model the full social details of established agreements and monetize each process, CRM applications must integrate with systems that understand the financial standing of a customer. To do this, organizations need to get the data from a friendly billing system.
Customer relationships can vary from a pay-as-you-go relationship, like the one MetroPCS Communications offers, to a subscription relationship, such as the one Netflix offers. No matter the relationship, it needs to be understood, captured and brought together with other pertinent data to build a complete social profile in the CRM system.
In B2B relationships, quote-to-cash capabilities encompass the processes of creating a quote for a customer and automating relationship workflow from enrollment to the payment receipt. CRM gave enterprises a basic way to manage relationships, but businesses now can monetize individually to reflect the unique elements of specific financial relationships in the CRM. By integrating with billing systems, CRM applications can extract vital information that allows businesses to engage with customers and maximize their lifetime value (LTV). Businesses can easily access the services or promotions that customers purchased, see when they expire and when they’re up for renewal, and offer upsell opportunities -- all within the CRM user interface (UI) with which they are familiar.
Taking things a step further, tracking and analyzing clickstream behavior allows businesses to upsell their customers in real-time, as these actions provide a deeper understanding of customer behavior.
By making their applications more aware of their customers’ needs, businesses can forecast the best offers and promotions to present to their customers, increasing the chances of additional sales.
So how does an organization take initial steps to drive social CRM into their revenue models? Start with the CRM ecosystem. Many billing system package integrations are available in salesforce’s AppExchange. Once the package is downloaded, an organization can access the financial elements of a billing system without leaving the CRM UI.
If the business uses a self-service model, it can register customers through the billing system and link that to the CRM application. You can even drive the data into back-office financial applications providing the business leaders with a 360-degree view of their operations.
Our world is built on social relationships: family, friends and business relationships. All relationships, regardless of the type, evolve as information is exchanged. When you gain a better understanding of an acquaintance, you can push the relationship to a friendship, as you are able to use that information to create a connection. The same goes for a business relationship. When coupled with other customer data, the information gained from integration with a billing system gives businesses a more comprehensive understanding of their customers and defines the customers’ needs and total value to the businesses.
A future enhanced by the combination of billing commerce and social CRM applications is in store for social businesses. Don’t get lost in the term “social.” Connecting on LinkedIn is great. A Facebook post can be sweet. But neither are enough to build and model a deep business with your customers.
By extracting the information from a billing system and combining that with other social and transactional data in your CRM, a business can interact with and react to its customers in a far more meaningful way.