Advanced data analysis and business intelligence are also reflecting the change in the perception of time on the part of customers using social networks. In previous CRM systems rarely was the time-to-respond or any other metric used for evaluating how quickly and thoroughly a company responded. No longer, as the combining of insights gained from analyzing customers' comments on social networking sites is showing many companies that they have a wide gap between how they perceive time vs. their customers (Whiting, Donthu, 2009). Time and trust also are driving the next layer of the structure of CRM systems as defined by Gartner which is the definition of CRM technologies.
The final layer of the CRM building blocks as defined by Gartner is CRM Metrics. As was mentioned in the section on CRM Information, this area is going through rapid change as marketers attempt to keep pace with the massive volumes of data produced on social networks. Second, this area of value, retention and customer loyalty has also become even more critically important from the context of fighting back a global economic recession. Through the use of business analytics and business intelligence applications, CRM systems are capable of predicting customer behavior over time and developing strategies to better align to customer preferences. As with each layer of the Gartner CRM definition, this area is also seeing an exponential level of content being generated both through social networks and through the XML integration links with existing customer databases, order capture and order management systems throughout companies. An area that is also fascinating is how forward-thinking companies who are attempting to define the Return on Investment (ROI) for social networking integration to their CRM systems. This is occurring at the CRM Metrics level of the Gartner Model as companies integrate their financial information into the CRM systems to determine ROI of these investments. Second, there is the ability now to track the profitability of each marketing strategy or program over the long-term. Using social networking sites as a sounding board and a means of listening more proactively to customers, companies are able to better ascertain how their investments are paying off or not by the strategy level.
Social networking applications, their rapidly gaining popularity, and the catalyst of all these innovations, Web 2.0, is also drastically re-ordering the CRM landscape as well. In many respect social networking is bringing the voice of the customer louder and more clearly into companies than has ever been the case in the past (Greenberg, 2008). Others argue that social networking is also redefining the concepts of trust, transparency and even changing how people value and see time in the context of how they buy and consumer products and services (Whiting, Donthu, 2009). Underscoring all of these factors however is the fact that expectations continue to increase on the part of consumers for accurate, timely and useful information delivered how and when they need it. The role of CRM as enabler of customers' goals instead of a means to push more products at them and sell more is a critical one. No longer are customers content to just hear what companies want to say; customers are now redefining the value propositions of companies an in so doing, redefining their brands (Bernoff, Li, 2008). The customer being in control due to social networking is readily apparent from reviewing the applications in Appendix B. Far more intriguing that this dynamic however is how companies will cope with the massive challenge of serving customers whose expectations of service, responsiveness and truthful service are escalating over time, changing the nature of customer relationships.
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