Customer relationship management (CRM) is not new. The technologies were introduced in the 1990s – and had a rather rocky start, in many cases – inside large sales organizations looking to keep better track of customer and sales information. CRM quickly penetrated the contact center as a way of offering more insight into each transaction with a customer. When it worked well, CRM would populate an application on an agent’s desktop with customer information based on incoming call information, so the agent had important information about the customer before he or she even picked up the phone.
Fast-forward to today, and CRM is now an established, venerated industry concept. It is, however, undergoing a change: Where it meets social media, it’s becoming something called “Social CRM.” According to a new report by Markets and Markets, the social CRM segment will grow from $1.91 billion in 2013 to $9.08 billion in 2018. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.5 percent from 2013 to 2018.
“Major forces driving this market are the rising focus on customer engagement, emerging SMEs, social platforms and the recognition of sharing ideas on a real time basis,” wrote the report’s authors. “Enterprises are coming up with solutions for social monitoring, social listening, social middleware, social management and social measurement for providing the best in class customer experience to the customers. Today, CRM is not limited only for increasing sales and improving marketing activities, but to bring in more customer engagement with the enterprises.”
Today, customers use social media more than ever. By one estimate, about 55 percent of customers in the U.S. today report using social media as a tool when they make a purchase. Social media users are seeking reviews, opinions and feedback from friends, family members and even strangers before they make a purchase. All this social engagement has set quite a task for companies: monitoring social media posts about their industry, their company and their competitors to better understand how to serve customers and (equally as important) where to serve customers. Customers today aren’t just using social media to share opinions…they are actively contacting companies via social media, and they expect replies inside an hour, in many cases.
It seems evident that today, a company without a viable social CRM strategy is unlikely to remain a particularly successful company. For social CRM solutions providers, the sharply rising growth in applications is a demonstration of opportunity of great things to come.