For all of its enormous, game-changing ubiquity, businesses continue to be challenged on how to best leverage the power of social media. For the most part, social media has been used largely as a marketing tool, but as it matures as a tool, process and policy, it is becoming a major force in sales, customer service and customer retention.

Social customer relationship management is truly the future and organizations need be embrace this channel as quickly as possible for a number of compelling reasons. For one, it responds to the rise of the “social customer.” The social customer is the person who turns to Twitter and Facebook to learn about new products and brands and trusts the feedback their peer-to-peer community provides about these brands and products.   Meanwhile, because almost everything today happens in real-time – leaving companies little time to analyze, measure, and react to customers – the agility that social CRM offers is more important than ever before. Even customers who might not define themselves as a “social customer” often expect a company will respond to the feedback they leave via social media channels. Rare is the day a negative tweet goes without a response from a company rep.   Meanwhile, it is becoming more apparent that companies desire a more accurate and individual view of each customer and the only way to achieve this so far is with social CRM tools. And if used correctly, these are the tools that can better communicate with the customer community and garner a new intimacy that until now has eluded marketing experts.   Companies that prosper in the future will be those that best know what their customers want and need. The combination of CRM and social media is how companies will sense change even before their customers do. Possibly the most compelling reasons for companies to begin embracing social CRM, however, are the abilities to share vital information and to pool customer knowledge across job and department silos. The frontrunner for tackling this social CRM task so far would have to be Twitter.

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