Social and mobile transforming CRM

Social media and mobile technology have ushered in a new era in customer relationship management.

Marin'e Jacobs
By Marin'e Jacobs
Johannesburg, 18 Sept 2013
Gartner research director Jim Davies says social and mobile are leading in a new era in customer analytics.
Gartner research director Jim Davies says social and mobile are leading in a new era in customer analytics.

Social media and mobility allow customers to have much more say in the customer relationship management (CRM) process, which means businesses will have to rethink their CRM strategy.

Gartner research director Jim Davies says as the world goes mobile, CRM has to follow. "By 2016, we expect 50% of all sales to be influenced by a mobile device. We have to get more personal with our customers whether we want to or not. We can't keep them at arm's length anymore."

According to Davies, CIOs are increasingly turning to CRM to achieve their goals. "By 2017, there will be an equal number of business applications and BYODs used by customer-facing employees. IT will control less than half the tools that customer-facing employees use to do their jobs."

Businesses now need a social media strategy. It can no longer be regarded as a project, notes Davies. He says organisations have to start by revisiting the building blocks of CRM and defining what social media means to CRM in the company. The strategy must identify which customer processes the organisation is going to focus on.

"As far as customer processes are concerned, customers only care about it being accessible, consistent, repeatable, thorough, timely, flexible, convenient and personalised. These are the things you should be thinking through in your design of the CRM processes."

Social and mobile also leads in a new era in terms of customer analytics, says Davies. Enterprises have to be able to handle large amounts of unstructured data and determine what a customer's intent and needs are. "Analytics is no longer something three or four guys do somewhere in a back room. It is something that has to be at the fingertips of every single employee who needs it, helping them improve their performance and make decisions," he says.

Davies points out that the nexus of forces are impacting CRM and social and mobile are part of this. Mobile impacts every stage of the customer buying cycle, namely the need-want assessment, information search, evaluation, purchase and post-purchase.

"Think who your customers are and what are their needs and aspirations when it comes to mobile and social strategy. Try to tie your mobile strategy back to the organisation's overall customer goals."