Emily Tan
Oct 22, 2012

CEOs who fail to invest in social CRM are missing out: Ovum

MELBOURNE - Research firm Ovum has found that many CEOs and senior executives fail to see how social media adds value to their overall strategy, potentially causing them to fall behind.

Confusion and resistance from senior executives is holding back social CRM
Confusion and resistance from senior executives is holding back social CRM

The report The Importance of Social Media in Enterprise CRM Strategies found that the main barrier to enterprise adoption of social CRM is the resistance and confusion at the executive level. 

“Social media often only requires a miniscule fraction of the seats and revenue required for traditional channels, yet it can provide enterprises with valuable real time market data," observed report author and Ovum IT services analyst, Margaret Goldberg. "However, enterprise executives have yet to see this value.”

If enterprise leaders do not become more receptive to leveraging social media, they are going to fall behind and pay the price, warned Ovum. "Leaders must seek help to develop their strategy in this area, otherwise they will miss opportunities to reach customers and access strategic information." 

“More customers are using social networks to voice complaints and praise. This is a trend that will continue as the generation that grew up with social media matures," noted Goldberg.

The report identified several trends across vertical sectors. The retail, hospitality, transportation and technology industries are early adopters of using social media as a customer service channel, and are using it pervasively. However, companies such as banks, financial institutions and healthcare providers are much slower and more reluctant to use this channel due to security, privacy and regulatory concerns.

Additionally, a number of social networks have emerged and some have lost their appeal within the past year. Social media such as Ping, Buzz and Google Wave are long gone. Instagram (recently acquired by Facebook), Pinterest and Tumblr, to name just a few, are emerging.

“As the space matures, outsourcers will need to develop or integrate with platforms that are able to work with these new sites and aggregate data for analytics," added Goldberg. "As outsourcers further expand their social media offerings and their own software, it will be crucial to make these as flexible and robust as possible in order to reduce cost, lower time taken to adapt, and more quickly analyse the massive amounts of data on these sites.”

Companies Salesforce and Oracle for example have been making strides in this arena. Salesforce in particular has recently launched its Marketing Cloud and partnered with 20 analytics services to offer its clients a wide range of data gathering techniques. Even non-traditional CRM companies, IBM and Google have been making substantial investments in this arena.  

"This is a growing market across the outsourcing spectrum, and customer service/social media is no different," said Goldberg. With analytics as the real endgame for outsourcing firms, outsourcers should also figure out how to manage the continuing shift to mobile, and develop tools in order to monitor and analyse social network customer engagements generated on mobile devices, she recommended. 

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