With CRM being as much of a backbone as it is now for businesses, with every customer-related department (and beyond) having to exchange data over this central, flexible data processing and tracking system, we’re starting to see the inevitable experimentation with other technologies to work alongside or within CRM. Social CRM tools are an example of this.
This isn’t new though, as one of the driving things in competition between the current kings of CRM is their ability to bring in or cooperate with other tools partially related to their functions.
This may sound trivial at first, but when you realize how much of a mess several, non-parallel collections of data and data management systems are, you quickly appreciate them playing nice and smooth.
But, are social CRM tools very developed, and if so, what’s interesting?
Some of the social network revolution, I honestly think, is hype. In my experience, all but a couple of the social networks are not only redundant, but even without that fact, still useless or ill conceived. There are too many of them, and too many of them get too much attention.
When it comes to business, Twitter, Tumblr and as much as I don’t like this site, Facebook are where it’s at.
There are some tools, and since people won’t settle for three well-explored suggestions like they used to, you’re going to have to deal with five of them, all only quickly discussed.
I admit to having had a bit of a time researching this one, and the tools I found didn’t impress me that much personally. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I found.
This one’s more of a self contained thing, than something to integrate into existing CRM, tough it can do that. This is the quintessential customer relationship system for cultivating intimate and personal relationships with your customers over popular social networks like the ones I mentioned, plus others like Pinterest, YouTube and more. It can create complete profiles, track relationship histories, and even do some BI-styled snooping for you.
More oriented around the customer service and support aspect of CRM (which is a big part), this turns the help desk and agent/customer interaction channels into a social community, harnessing the same Skinner Box motivations and all.
Similar to Jive Engage but with less flare, this one trims some of the social network nonsense off of the experience, while preserving the parts that’re actually useful. While it’s a little weaker, I like this one’s no nonsense attitude, as well as its restraint from some of the things about most social networks that irritate the hell out of me.
Spaces is a unification program with CRM mechanics and functionality, which takes the same basic concept that Jive and Lithium do, but carry it over actual established, general use social networks. I like the idea, but it means all that nonsense is back again.
Nimble, however, I like quite a bit. Similar to Spaces, this one, in stead of managing everything about every social network in purity, unifies them all into one single, multi-faceted contact unit, while still carrying over native networks under the hood. All the nonsense and fluff is gone, as is the confusion of having to manage presence on eighty septillion different networks that work nothing the same.
These are genuinely good social CRM tools, but you only need at best two of these at a time, so don’t go off half cocked ready to just use all of these at once in some grand master plan. It’ll get you nowhere.