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November 22, 2012

Social media will drive the customer experience and interaction market

Analysts say that implementing better collaboration tools will be vital for businesses in 2013 to keep up with always-connected consumers.

By Tineka Smith

Customer experience and interaction

According to Ovum’s 2013 Trends to watch report, technologies are changing customer experiences and expectations. Ovum says that businesses and vendors will need to evolve to meet these demands.

The report suggests that enterprises should make sure to implement new technologies when interacting with customers or risk losing businesses.

"Enterprises need to support today’s customers by providing timely and accurate responses via mobile, web, and voice channels. In order to succeed, they must address customer needs at every stage of the customer lifecycle, and support and integrate data internally," said Aphrodite Brinsmead, senior analyst at Ovum. "It makes sense for enterprises to create collaborative customer experience teams in order to align technology and data strategies across product, IT, marketing, and customer support."

Ovum’s reports predicts that social media teams will shift into the contact centre, so better social media management tools to monitor social media sites will be needed. Ovum also forecasts significant growth for Social CRM (21% CAGR) in the next five years.

In 2011, Gartner predicted that Social CRM – social media integrated with customer relationship management strategies – will boom worldwide and will pass the $1bn mark by the end of this year, by which time it is estimated that 25% of businesses will be using Social CRM applications.

SCRM, is increasingly being used by organisations to get closer to their customers in ways that were simply not possible before, while also enabling them to engage in two-way conversations with them.

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As social media has become an important channel of daily communication, engaging with customers socially should be the next step for brands. Tom Kelly, CEO of Moxie Software, says social media is another communication channel and should be supported just like email and the phone.

"Every business leader knows about the importance of getting closer to their customers and to do so they need to support multi-channels of communication," Kelly told CBR. "SCRM will grow as customers demand that enterprises support them through multi-channels."

While Ovum predicts that social media will change the way customers interact with businesses, a report by IBM suggests it may not be easy. IBM’s report, Social media to Social CRM, reveals that more than 50% of consumers do not even consider interacting with businesses through social media. Many consumers use social media sites for personal connections, not business interactions.

The research suggests that these findings should encourage businesses to be creative when establishing new social CRM strategies in order to receive positive results with customers.


Please follow this writer on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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