As I watch my daughter use Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook I realize the world will never be the same (although I probably wasted an equal amount of time on my Atari 2600 when I was her age). It’s very clear that social platforms – used by both consumers and companies – have created an entirely new category of communication. To businesses, these innovations hold the elusive promise of personal, one-to-one relationships that drive loyalty between marketers and consumers, increase satisfaction, build trust, and in the end drive higher revenue. However, in order to be effective, businesses need to engage customers and prospects when, where, and how they want. Often, social media efforts don’t match up with these goals. Why?
Companies, cumulatively spend billions each year on social marketing efforts. The results tend to be a long list of ‘Likes’, ‘Friends’, ‘Fans’, or some other label for follower. The problem is that many consumers don’t participate in social networks to research products and services; they participate to interact with individuals (my daughter is now SnapChatting with an undisclosed friend). Many consumers feel like companies are intruding on this experience. Additionally, when someone does engage a company on social media far too often the result is canned responses and one-sided conversations. The goal should be about driving high levels of customer engagement; not just a social presence or audience. So, how do we do that?
To be successful, social marketing needs to be one component of a broader strategy. The end goal should be about driving high levels of customer engagement and optimizing your customers overall experience. To do this, social networks are a part of the equation but so a well-built website and a branded customer community. Engaging customers and prospects via your primary online assets such as a customer community or customer portal should be the goal of our social efforts. A customer portal is an appropriate place to deeply engage customers when, where, and how they want. What attracts people to customer communities is the relevancy of the content, the ability to interact with similarly minded customers, and the ability to interact with your brand when they want to.
The common benefits of a customer community or customer portal are higher customer engagement, improved efficiency in areas of the business such as customer service, and a deeper insight into your customers. Coincidentally, these are many of the same benefits organizations look for when deciding to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM ) solution. Unfortunately, the limitation of a stand-alone CRM solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM or SalesForce.com, is that it doesn’t directly engage your customers. This is where we believe pairing a solution like CRM Vertex and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the key. CRM Vertex is an easy to use Portal add-on for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If you are looking for a customer community application or software to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM then take a look at CRM Vertex. It provides rich out-of-the-box functionality to drive your customer engagement to the next level.
Customer communities are online spaces that are optimized for customer-branded interactions and a perfect place to engage your customers and prospects. Letting customers and prospects engage your staff through Microsoft Dynamics CRM via a CRM Vertex Customer Portal provides an efficient and powerful experience.