Customer Management Articles

The State of Social CRM: The Four Best Apps of 2014

by Todd Spear
Published on 9 September 2014

social crm software customer relationship management Customer relationship management (CRM) is in a constant state of flux. As of late, CRM has taken on a decidedly social slant as the line between social media marketing and social CRM continues to blur. The last that are on our radar are three social CRMs that do social media exceptionally well.

Because there is only one way to connect with your customers in the age of social media , and that is directly, we've picked the apps that most ably let you and your team respond to social media inquiries in real time. This is all so important because, let's face it, your customers want it all, and they want it now!

In a world where you products and services are delivered on-demand via your website in real time, your customers expect instant responses to queries, concerns, and other interactions. New leads want further information - they want to see your latest offers, your marketing materials.

Existing customers want to know if they can use the latest update. And they expect whomever they talk to at your business to know their story, period. Social media and the Web has elevated customer expectations, creating a demand for elevated execution in customer relationship management.

These three CRM apps are ideal in this era of social media connectivity, as they all leverage social interactions to build customer relationships that will last for years.

Here are our top four social CRM software picks.

Zendesk

Zendesk help desk software is a force to be reckoned with in the world of social CRM. Zendesk is already in use by more than 40,000 businesses worldwide, and it's adding to that list every day. As a matter of fact, Tracktion Software recently announced its switch to Zendesk for CRM via an email marketing campaign-rolling it out as if it were a new feature of the application itself.

What the folks at Tracktion most assuredly realize is that Zendesk is actually a game changer, especially for those businesses which have been functioning without a dedicated social CRM app.

Zendesk pulls together the channels modern consumers (e.g. your customers) are using to air problems and seek resolutions. Increasingly, the channels they are turning to are social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Zendesk gives you the ability to answer customer requests with equal effectiveness and timeliness, regardless of where the inquiry comes from.

Features of Zendesk:

  • Flexible ticket management with automated workflow
  • Multi-channel support: email, web, phone, chat, social media
  • Mobile support with native iPhone, iPad, and Android apps
  • Robust reporting and advanced analytics
  • Customer facing web interface that you can easily brand
  • Knowledge base portal and community forums included
  • Over 100 out-of-the-box integrations with 3rd party apps
  • Open API enabling seamless integration into your business
  • Multi-brand support with linked accounts
  • Unlimited, free "light agents" (Enterprise plan only)
  • Group rules and macros
  • Screencasting
  • Public and private forums
  • Full CSS rebranding
  • Multi locale (timezone and languages)
  • Export ticket views to CSV
  • SSO with Twitter, Facebook, Google and SAML
  • REST API
  • Pre-built: Salesforce, SugarCRM

Zendesk is detailed in its approach to gathering customer data and resources. It's a social CRM app that can empower your team to make better decisions as they work with customers, and the result is sure to make your customers very happy

SproutSocial

SproutSocial is a social media lead acquisition tool with a CRM tacked on to create an all-in-one social media solution for customer engagement.

SproutSocial gathers together all of the social interactions and " brand keyword" mentions that can happen across social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. And we love the fact that SproutSocial manages to intelligently scour social media for mentions relevant to your brand.

As an example, many social media followers mistakenly mention "Social Sprout" instead of SproutSocial. Using the app's dashboard, the company can identify those leads and existing customers who are trying to communicate. SproutSocial puts the same capabilities in your hands, making it one of the most powerful social CRM apps around.

Features of SproutSocial:

  • Social Media Dashboard
  • Analyze link performance
  • View Twitter follower demographics and contact details
  • Get engagement & influence scores
  • Search customers by location
  • Discover customers by interest
  • Monitor competitor activity
  • Social CRM tools including shared customer records
  • Organize Contacts
  • Audience engagement tools
  • Brand and competition social monitoring
  • Social media publishing
  • Integrated analytics
  • Fully Integrated Publishing Tools
  • Sprout's ViralPost® Send Time Optimization
  • Centralized Analytics & Reporting
  • Unified Smart Inbox
  • Profile reports and message-level analytics
  • Customer support features - tasks and Helpdesk integration
  • Team collaboration tools, live activity updates

SproutSocial puts social media at the center of your customer relationships, and we'd say that's meeting them on their terms!

Salesformics

Salesformics CRM and marketing automation tool , like the other apps that make this list, has social media integration through Twitter , LinkedIn , Constant Contact , Eventbrite , and other social media resources. This lets you bridge social media profiles with customer profiles.

Salesformics, of course, is aimed primarily at business-to-business (B2B) situations, though many of its features translate to business-to-customer (B2C) operations.

Features of Salesformics:

  • Customer relationship management built for B2B and B2C
  • Ever-expanding sales and marketing automation
  • Instant feedback and company insight
  • Secure and encrypted for peace of mind
  • Up and running in minutes, not after days or weeks
  • No limit on number of contacts, leads, accounts or messages
  • Sales process automation so easy, everyone can use it
  • Segment marketing made easy using point-and-click
  • Social media integration

Salesformics is a great resource, especially for B2B purposes, and especially for any such business that leverages LinkedIn or Eventbrite for customer engagement. If those two social media platforms play an important role in what you do, Salesformics is the CRM app for you.

Salesforce Desk.com

Of course, we can't talk about social CRM without mentioning Saleforce Desk.com customer service software -it's quite possibly the most famous. Desk.com not only boasts the robust power you would expect from Salesforce 1 Platform, but it also operates across all channels. This allows your team to manage customer relationships with an overall, bird's eye view of uniques customer histories and interactions.

Desk.com can field customer requests and inquiries from chat, phone, social media, or email, and it aptly helps your team keep it all organized by fluidly presenting interactions in context.

SalesForce Desk.com lets you and your team know what's going on with a customer so they the appropriate actions can be taken to resolve the issue.

Features of Salesforce Desk.com:

  • Universal inbox that aggregates cases from multiple channels
  • Case management with advanced routing tools and filters
  • Productivity tools, including custom macros & bulk updating
  • Mobile-optimized and custom branded self-service centers
  • Real-time business insights with team and channel performance
  • Collaborate & respond to cases on-the-go with the mobile app
  • Multilingual support with 5 languages
  • Integrate with Salesforce, JIRA, LiveChat, MailChimp, Zapier
  • Flex pricing to support whole company
  • Scale to Service Cloud as your need for customization grows

SalesForce is a big name in CRM, and Desk.com puts customer engagements in context. There's no better way to respond to your customers than being armed with knowledge and resources, and Desk.com puts everything at your fingertips, enabling you to nurture customers relationships with ease.

Are you using the right social CRM app (or one at all)?

If you are still learning about social CRM or you have yet to see the app that's right for you, check out the complete, current listing of social CRM software at GetApp.


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