Ironically, while the CRM pundit hysteria about “social CRM” seems to be abating a little bit, many concrete use-cases are emerging that demonstrate the business value of the social web phenomenon. I just published a new report that defines the key characteristics of social CRM and provides examples of how Social Computing technologies expand the possibilities for delivering customer and company value through the key business processes of targeting, acquisition, retention, understanding, and collaboration. Forrester's annual Groundswell Awards provide over 130 examples of how organizations use Social Computing to engage and collaborate with customers in new ways.
Here are some highlights:
- Customer targeting. Social media channels such as Twitter and YouTube and communities such as Facebook and Groupon offer new ways to communicate with customers through an Internet community context. And we now see the rising use of community-based market research techniques. For example, Godiva Chocolatier created a private, invitation-only community so Godiva could better understand its chocolate consumers. The community led Godiva to create an affordable product line, individually wrapped chocolates called Gems, and sell them in a new channel — grocery and drug stores. Gems was the biggest global launch ever for Godiva, ringing up $35 million in its first year.
- Customer acquisition. Social Computing technologies such as ratings and review sites can help your organization energize brand advocates to spread the word to their friends and followers. The Spiceworks Community of more than 1 million IT pros supports small-to-medium businesses in 190 countries using the Spiceworks IT management application. Through word-of-mouth efforts, the most engaged community members, or SpiceHeads, help attract 1,500 new IT professionals every day.
- Customer retention. We see good results being achieved with social technologies applied to customer service and support scenarios. For example, the TurboTax Live Community has helped more than 10 million customers get free tax help from other customers, including 90 super-users who generated more than 115,000 answers last year.
- Customer collaboration. As mentioned, customer communities and discussions can be harnessed for marketing research purposes, energizing brand advocates during the selling process, enabling customers to collaborate for self-service. Communities also can be used to engage customers directly in the product and service ideation and development process. For example, National Instruments has adopted the notion of co-innovation with customers for its LabVIEW product, leveraging its online presence to get product ideas. LabVIEW Idea Exchange is a product feedback forum where users can submit and vote on features concerning topics like user interface enhancements and hardware integration.
- Customer insight. Forrester observes a rapidly growing interest in listening platforms — a technology and analytics infrastructure that mines a wide variety of traditional, online, and social sources to extract and deliver customer intelligence to shape a firm's marketing and service strategy. The Adobe Community team found an immediate return on investment in just a few weeks using social targeting technology. Adobe reports: "Without new social sentiment and tracking tools, it would have taken two people for at least six weeks to find influencers and rate their influence, without really knowing the accuracy of our search and own analysis."