Social CRM is one of those new words that some label a buzzword while others look to find merit in the new technology and applications.
For the most part, social CRM is a CRM (customer relationship management) strategy that is based around adding a social element to traditional CRM processes to increase customer engagement and interactions through social media and social networking platforms.
Many CRM vendors have started to add social applications to their CRM and contact management software, but in some cases that's been limited to social collaboration inside the network firewall (e.g., your company teams).
One area where social CRM is really taking off is with new vendors looking to provide small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with tools to leverage a social element that lets the business connect customer conversations and relationships from public social spaces into the CRM and call center process.
For the small business, leveraging social media through social CRM applications and tools makes sense, and right now a number of companies and new startups are offering a range of tools that focus on adding that social element to the traditional contact management processes.
Nimble Contact Integrates All Social Contacts
One of the new players in the social business app space is Nimble. The company launched its first product, Nimble Contact, in a public beta version in February. Nimble, as a social contact manager, excels at performing its primary function. This lightweight, online social software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform lets businesses use social relationships as a customer management and contact tool.
In today's socially connected world, small business owners and employees have contacts scattered everywhere. We communicate with co-workers, customers and partners using email, instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and LinkedIn. Many of us also use the old standbys — like face-to-face meetings and landlines (or cellphones) too.
Nimble provides a simple Web-based solution to integrate all your contacts and the contacts of those on your team, socially, in one screen. There is no need to open multiple programs and Web browsers and copy and paste client details into an email or Excel sheet. Import your contacts, label them according to the type of contact, and you can easily track and follow them and their social conversations and connections.
Nimble Contact: A First Look
The first positive note for this hosted service is just that — it's hosted, so small businesses have no need to hire IT staff or buy expensive hardware and software to leverage the social contact management. If you can open your browser and use Gmail or Facebook, then you can create a Nimble account and leverage your social contacts for your business.
The process of creating an account is pretty standard. You create your free online account, then start by importing contacts from your social services and email, or adding new contacts one at a time.
The Nimble Contact Manager interface is very straightforward and adding contacts is not at all difficult. You have the following four tabs with options for each task:
- Contacts: Add Person, Add Company or Import Contacts from Google Contacts, Outlook CSV, Generic CSV, vCard, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. You can import up to 5,000 contacts from each service and Nimble automatically tags the contact by service name or lets you create your tags to filter contacts by. Any communication with any contact on any of these services can be managed through the Nimble interface, so there is no need to load Facebook, Twitter, and other services in different tabs of your Web browser.
- Messages: The messages can be synced with any online email account or your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn status messages. You can view, send or delete messages for these services from the Nimble interface.
- Activities: You can create new tasks or new events from within this tab, and also keep track of upcoming and completed tasks. The Activities tab will also sync with your Google calendar.
- Social: The social tab lets you quickly view all social streams in one view or see Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn streams separately. You can search messages and see your favorite Twitter hash tag searches as well. From the Social tab you can choose "new Message," then select the social service to set the message on or send a new message via email or social service.