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Social networking details increasingly integrated with CRM data

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25th Jan 2011
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Although only just over a quarter of brands currently integrate customers’ social networking information with their existing CRM data, most intend to do so over the year ahead.

But according to a survey undertaken by open source CRM software vendor SugarCRM, about half of respondents said that social media had helped their business to become more successful in the last 12 months, whether such information had been integrated or not.

Nearly half of those questioned also indicated that they would require their next CRM system purchase to include social CRM capabilities, with 42% indicating that LinkedIn was currently their favourite forum for undertaking research about or interacting with customers and prospects. A further 32% likewise used Facebook, while only 14% were keen on Twitter.

A second study undertaken among 1,000 internet users by Lightspeed Research on behalf of the Internet Advertising Bureau, however, also revealed that social media consumers expect a much swifter response to complaints than users of other channels.

A quarter of Facebook and Twitter customers said they wanted to hear back from the offending party within an hour and 6% within 10 minutes. This compared with the 50% who accessed brands’ websites that said they were happy to receive a response within a day. A further 27% said that they were prepared to wait three days.

The survey likewise found that 18 to 34 year olds were three times (15%) more likely to use Facebook as a medium to express their gripes than 35 to 54 year olds (5%).

Ralph Risk, Lightspeed’s marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: "While only a small proportion of people currently use social media channels to complain, the impact can be greater with more people witnessing the exchange. While this provides companies with a potential risk, it also gives them a huge opportunity to highlight their excellent service, and the brands that embrace this successfully are likely to reap the rewards."

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