Gartner: Nine categories of social applications for CRM

29 May 2015 Consultancy.uk

To be able to choose the right social applications for CRM that support ones business goals, IT application leaders should know the different types of applications and their various functionalities, Gartner emphasises. In its research, the firm identifies 9 types that should be taken into account.

Gartner recently released a new report into the different types of social applications for customer relationship management (CRM). According to the consulting firm, IT applications leaders that support CRM initiatives should understand and take into account the differences in functionality of these types to identify the technologies and applications that best support their firm’s business goals.

Gartner, 9 types of social applications for CRM

In the report, Gartner identifies 9 different types, of which Consultancy.uk provides a brief summary:

Social Publishing
The key characteristic of social publishing applications is pushing content. These apps enable companies to coordinate messaging, campaigns and alerts and to push content to social networks with a unified brand voice. 

Social Media Engagement
The key characteristic of social media engagement applications is continuous dialogue. These apps enable companies to communicate ‘back and forth’ with their customers and can be used across sales, marketing and customer service to attract new and retain old customers, and to solve customer problems. 

Social Analytics
The key characteristic of social analytics applications is analysing opportunities. In marketing, they are used to identify market characteristics and influencers; in customer service, they are used to identify engagement opportunities and to measure customer service processes; and in sales, they are used to identify prospective customers.

Social Publishing - Social Media Engagement - Social Analytics

External Community Software
External community software can be used to build customer loyalty while gathering market research data and is mostly deployed for customer service and marketing. The software also enables peer-to-peer support functions for a product or service. 

Internal Community Software
Internal community software can be used to give employees a place to share their insights, interests and contributions about a shared practice, enabling internal collaboration.

Content Enrichment
Contact enrichment applications can be used to combine contact profiles and improve account management, providing value across customer service, digital commerce, marketing and sales.

External Community Software - Internal Community Software - Content Enrichment

Product Review
Product review applications can be used to present, capture and share perspectives among customers and partners. 

Social Network Selling
Social network selling applications can be sued to promote products and influence purchases via social networks. In addition, these apps allow customers to share their opinions, purchase decisions and transactions on social networks. 

Product Advocacy
Product or brand advocacy applications can be used to personalise communication between a brand and current/prospective customers, often via email, live chat or on social networks, to facilitate product purchase decisions for complex products. 

Product Review - Social Network Selling - Product Advocacy

Explaining the need to understand these different types of applications, Jenny Sussin, Research Director at Gartner, says: “Organisations often struggle to discern the differences between the many social applications that can support CRM. Misunderstanding of their functionalities can lead to overspending, organisational in-fighting, duplicated functionality and missed opportunities, all of which lead to a fragmented customer focus with no one responsible for delivering a consistent customer experience.”

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