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Leverage CRM, Billing Systems: React To Customers Socially

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.

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2 comments about "Leverage CRM, Billing Systems: React To Customers Socially".
  1. Aditya Guru from Genisys , October 24, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.
    Interesting article , a comprehensive social CRM will provide businesses with insight into customer interactions on social media platforms, read this http://bit.ly/UDUptM whitepaper it provides good insight into the benefits of employing a social CRM .
  2. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc. , October 24, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.
    Behavioral Based Social Media System for the Cable TV Market Cable has long history of failing to develop 1-1 target marketing,the Holy Grail of targeted advertising. Excerpt from above link on January, 2011 Fortune.com – “Advertisers will spend $56 billion putting ads on TV this year,...The cable industry thought it would be a big opportunity too, but its efforts have fallen short. http://www.businessinsider.com/jason-kilar-here-are-my-thoughts-on-hulu-and-the-future-of-tv-2011-2 Excerpt from above link on February, 2011 Business Insider Identifies advertising market being missed by Cable TV operators “Advertisers have weighed in heavily on the future of TV, with both their thoughts and their considerable wallets. Advertisers are increasingly expecting to present their advertising messages to just their desired audience…and not to anyone else. .” The obvious alternative, with the least cost to implement is an independent Cloud CRM solution designed to cross index cable subscriber households with their corresponding social network interests. The current regulatory and privacy issues experienced by cable TV operators gathering unauthorized data from set-top boxes could be minimized, by validating subscriber and even eliminated by essentially having an opt-in plan (provided conveniently by the social media). Access along with profile and interests of households would be controlled by the subscriber’s social media platform of choice. Facebook has high consumer acceptance and could be used for household profiles, product interests, social interests, and viewing entertainment interests. There would be incentives to the subscribers to opt-in including notification and reminder of viewing favorites, Groupon type ads, and specific ads matching interests with infomercial type group discounts and urgency to buy. The current design of target marketing advertising ventures is fundamentally flawed. They focus on demographics, and fail to identify the individual behavioral current and future household interests. I would propose using a data cross indexing similar to a data warehouse project I was involved with at iN Demand. http://www.indemand.com/ . Project would involve developing a bidirectional Cloud interface program using a CRM application between the social media and MSO subscriber records and communicating behavioral marketing - business advertising, discounts, specific videos/groups, family albums – providing subscriber awareness of TV programming -- movies, products, etc. similar to Amazon and Groupon. This would make subscriber stickier and substantially reduce turnover. To paraphrase a comment I made in the CED 1999 publication about the Internet, cable TV operators need to become the new best friends with the 600 million members of social media.