Comity (kom’-it-ee)

A friendly social atmosphere; social harmony; a loose widespread community based on common social institutions.

(In collaboration with Chess Media Group, we have released the white paper a Guide to Understanding Social CRM)

How, when and where businesses need to engage with their customers has changed significantly and rapidly due to the broad adoption of social media as an accepted form of communication. The change is driven by a number of factors, but near the top of the list is the ease with which people now share experiences however, whenever and wherever they want. People like to communicate on social networking sites, share information on blogs and micro blogs, and connect on professional networks.

Purchasers of goods and services are more knowledgeable, empowered and connected than ever before. Prior to making purchasing decisions, customers now turn to peers and non-traditional industry influencers for answers through very public social networking platforms — more so than any other source for information gathering.

Businesses need to adapt to these changes in order to prosper; however, most do not fully understand how to shift their approach to interact with their customers online, or the impact this change will have on increasing their sales, growing long-term loyalty, and protecting their reputation.

In order to succeed in this hyper-connected environment, organizations will need to adapt their business strategy, add new technology, expand their marketing and PR efforts, and shift their internal culture. Formalizing a Social CRM strategy will allow a business to locate, educate and engage their current and potential customers where they prefer to communicate. Simply put, taking the conversation to social media channels will help attract the attention of your targeted audience members who turn to the Internet to find solutions to the business challenges they are looking to overcome.

Organizations also need to understand that Social CRM strategies and technology offerings should complement, but not replace traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software — the platform businesses have traditionally used to hold and analyze customer data. While many traditional CRM solutions are highly regarded and excellent at automating processes and managing the customer data required to respond to customer requests, manage resources and information required to close deals, and provide management reports to track sales, Social CRM focuses on the conversations taking place online about your industry.  Social CRM not only addresses how you will respond to this new kind of customer and the demands that he or she puts on your company, but also how you can engage non- traditional industry influences like bloggers.  The key difference between Social CRM and traditional CRM is that Social CRM is based on a strategy for customer engagement not managing customer data.

Business success will require a coordinated effort.