Is Social CRM Coming of Age in India?

More than a year ago, one of India’s largest broadcasters embraced Social CRM when they set up a Social Media Command Centre to provide opportunities for its audiences to connect across multiple channels. Today they reach seven hundred million individuals in India alone every week. Seven months ago a luxury hotel chain did the same with a view to increasing sales and revenue. A leader in beauty products is busy setting up a Social Media Command Center and a telecom player is ramping up existing facilities. The auto industry and global FMCG majors are not far behind. So, what is this mysterious thing called the Social Media Command Centre? It basically acts as a visual hub for the social media data on the brand. Equipped with LED screens that display heat maps, real time analytics, and live streaming of social media like Twitter and Facebook, these Command Centres help in tracking consumer conversations on brands and analyze brand sentiments in real time. Most Command Centres would work 24x7 long past the traditional office hours of the customer service helpline. What is driving this change is that marketers are realizing that if their brands want to connect with and serve their customers better, they must first understand their consumers better. The past few years have seen Social Media and traditional CRM collide and evolve into the advanced Social CRM you see today. Traditional CRM saw brands pushing messages and communication to customers and hoping they hit the right ones. It was the age of brands doing the talking. But today marketing is depending on conversations with the consumers and realizing that communication is a two-way process, where the customers are doing most of the talking. And now it is the turn of the brands to listen and shape their products and services accordingly. This involves problem resolution, turning customers into advocates and perhaps most importantly listening. Social CRM isn’t important to just retain customers; it also helps acquire new ones. According to NM Incite, 71% customer who receive a proactive brand response in social media are most likely to suggest that brand to their friends and family. However, in the absence of proactive action from the business, only 19% customers would like to recommend them. This process involves problem resolution, turning customers into advocates and, perhaps most importantly, listening to them. What is the business case for investing in social media? According to a Bain study done some time ago, engaged customers spend more. Which is important to most marketers. According to a Gleanster study again, 73% top companies consider customer service as the biggest reason to spend on social media. Why will Social CRM grow in India? With India’s millennial population at 28 million and growing rapidly, marketers will be forced to speak to them through social media, their media choice of preference. Millennials will force tech penetration on the rest of the population and even older adults in India. This coupled with rising internet penetration (India is expecting to see 790 million on the internet by 2020) means that social media will be their preferred mode of communication to marketers. For most large and small brands providing customer service on social channels is a rising imperative. Several studies have shown that when marketers do not respond constructively to negative feedback, it reflects badly on the brand and discourages consumers from purchase. Social media command centres can be instrumental in contextualizing, measuring, and triaging complaints so that customer service teams can quickly and appropriately respond to large volumes of incoming complaints. But by far perhaps the most important reasons why brands will need Social CRM is because traditional marketing is giving way to real-time marketing. Real-time marketing allows brands to track, understand and direct the flow of a campaign as it evolves. Command centres are the ideal platform for relaying that progress of a campaign in real- time. Soource: Advertising Age