In a new report by Gartner Analysts, they’re stating the obvious: social computing/social networking is a force to be reckoned with from a customer relationship management standpoint. Do companies really not know this yet?
I do have to rememeber to rein in my skepticism when I read things like the Gartner report and remember that I’m considered one of those early adopter types. I’ve been preaching the need for companies to use social networking for CRM, and brand building for approximately two years now.
The Gartner report predicts that more than 60% of Fortune 1000 companies will have a form of online community that can be used for CRM purposes, but also thinks that more than half of the companies who do will fail to manage them properly which will ultimately backfire on them.
Read any of the particularly good social media blogs out there, and you’ll see what we’ve all been warning companies about this for years and have been trying to help educate them as to the best way to go about this. Every social media strategist or evangelist out there wants companies to be successful using the tools we know and love for all the things we know they can do.
“Social applications offer a great opportunity for CRM practitioners to improve customer experience and influence the customer, particularly in an economic downturn when companies are trying to keep customers and increase wallet share,” said Adam Sarner, research director at Gartner. “Investments should focus primarily on the customer online buying process where it can offer a direct return on investment (ROI) in terms of sales, awareness and customer loyalty.” [source]
I guess it takes an official report to make some of those Fortune 1000 companies stand up and realize what power they have available to them. I just hope they get it right and don’t run headlong, full speed into communities and muck it all up.