Posts Tagged ‘corporate credibility’

Conflict could be caused by conflicting values, perceptions and motivations of team members. Conflict management is necessary to ensure that team conflict does not hinder productivity and the achievement of organisational goals. It is important to make sure that conflict results in a positive and constructive outcome and not a destructive one. A constructive outcome is where problems get resolved, there is a positive behavioural change and the team works better together. A destructive one is where problems are not resolved and the morale of team members is negatively affected.

Team conflict resolution

The following are ways to enhance effective conflict resolution:

  • Asking questions and listening to understand the problem and each person’s perspective on the matter
  • Considering each person’s needs, aiming to promote fairness and well-being
  • Genuinely showing a willingness to resolve the conflict, repair the relationship and foster unity
  • Looking for a common ground and identifying common interests
  • Being proactive in problem-solving, exploring ideas and asking for needed advice
  • Arriving at a solution that is fair, choosing the best option after considering likely solutions

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stattMeetingInter-departmental collaboration is important in every organisation and is essential for an effective Social CRM system. For example, the Marketing and Communications department need to liaise with the Customer Service department regarding customer interactions and any complaints while it is the Sales department that provides up to date information on products, pricing and the sales and purchase cycle. Therefore, Social CRM works better when carried out cross-functionally and this relies on good working relationships to be effective.

Good working relationships
Good working relationships can be built by promoting a climate and culture of mutual respect, trust, loyalty, co-operation and the achievement of common organisational goals.

It can be enhanced by:

  • Providing clear direction and clear vision
  • Communicating team values and goals to all members
  • Establishing ground rules for what is acceptable and what is not
  • Establishing a method of listening, encouraging feedback
  • Considering each person’s ideas as valuable
  • Respecting individual feelings
  • Promoting unity among members
  • Promoting clear communication
  • Encouraging information and knowledge sharing
  • Evaluating individual and team performance, providing feedback

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We all know the power that mass-media can wield in shaping public opinion and how it is sometimes used negatively to manipulate and distort facts. This is also true of social media. In this video, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests manipulate and distort media messages.

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What makes for an effective and efficient social CRM system? Here are the main points to consider.

Inter-departmental collaboration

Social CRM is effective when carried out cross-functionally. Usually, it is the Marketing and Communications department that would be mostly responsible for the company’s social CRM. However, they would need to communicate and collaborate with other departments to ensure efficiency. For example, they would need to have up to date information on products, pricing and the sales and purchase cycle from the Sales department. Also, liaising with Customer Service department is crucial regarding customer interactions and any complaints. Input from Product Development department is essential to resolve matters relating to existing products and to innovatively meet customer demands.

Centralised data storage

Since social CRM needs inter-departmental collaboration and communication, it is most effective when each department has access to up to date relevant data about matters and as they arise. Hence, data should be stored centrally.

Content creation and distribution

Good quality and relevant content that encourage dialogue and participation will enable an understanding of your brand while increasing brand visibility. A multi-channel approach to distribution of content is necessary since customers can change channels as easily as they do with television. You need a system and routine in place that helps you to proactively and persistently engage the customer in all the places relevant to your brand.

Monitoring of relevant platforms

Since the focus is to create and support a dialogue system of communication that enhances customer engagement and collaboration, you will need to listen and be responsive to what is being said. You should develop a system of listening to discussions on all relevant social media platforms, using monitoring software that records relevant messages from the social media platforms.

Having in place a reliable social CRM system that comprises of the above will enable co-ordination of staff, communication and activities, saving time and money.

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According to Kevin Bishop, Vice President of IBM, authenticity and advocacy are the two most relevant marketing fundamentals in these days of social media and both are growing in importance. Kevin spoke at the annual Dinner and Lecture held by Cambridge Marketing College on 14 July 2011.

Kevin Bishop
Kevin Bishop, IBM Vice President

Kevin quotes ‘Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing’. Social media means that corporate character is now more easily revealed as increased use of social media sites has empowered consumers to be better informed and more knowledgeable about their choices. When corporate character is found to be inconsistent with perceived reputation, consumers can now spread the word, good or bad, via these sites. Hence the rising importance of authenticity, where behaviour is in line with communicated promises and corporate values. Authenticity will help towards achieving advocacy which is the highest level of customer loyalty where the customer or stakeholder advocates, promotes and sells for you.

All these highlight the need to build from within, ensuring that corporate character lines up with desired image and reputation. Corporate behaviour is a huge aspect of this and can be influenced through internal marketing.

Customer relationship marketing is also necessary to bring about transition from customer to advocate.

Internal Marketing and Social Media Customer Relationship Marketing

Internal marketing is necessary to improve employee participation and performance. It is vital so that all internal stakeholders are equipped to support corporate strategy through behaviour, bringing about authenticity.

Social CRM can enhance rich exchanges with stakeholders and customers in a strategy of engagement and collaboration which not only enables understanding but also encourages involvement and commitment, thereby turning customers into advocates.

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This blog enables me to share and explore social media as a Customer Relationship Management tool in building and sustaining corporate credibility.

Corporate credibility as an aspect of corporate reputation refers to the perception that stakeholders have of the company’s honesty, expertise and trustworthiness. It reveals whether the company can be relied upon to do what it says it will do and whether it backs up its corporate communication with actions in line with its promises.

Corporate credibility is important as it affects stakeholder attitude towards the company and towards the company’s marketing, branding and communication strategies. High credibility leads customers to form positive attitudes and positive purchase intentions towards the company. As a result high credibility enhances customer loyalty, market share, brand equity and profit.

For a company to achieve its financial goals, it will need to develop trust and credibility through customer centric strategies. Such customer centric strategies necessitate being able to gather information as much as possible about customer perceptions and their attitudes towards the company and its products, and also being able to listen to customers. This can best be done through a collaborative dialogue strategy of communication, a two-way symmetrical model. Engaging positively with customers and listening to them enhances customer loyalty and the data gained as a result can help to further improve services.

An effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can achieve this and can help identify areas for improvement in order to raise performance.

Traditional CRM vs Social CRM
Traditional CRM involves managing the relationship with the customer for the benefit of the company. It is a marketing tool with a focus to selling to customers and it is therefore the company that initiates and controls the communication while the customer is mostly passive.

Social CRM on the other hand creates an avenue to engage and collaborate with the customer on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The customer does not play a passive role but the emphasis is on community and relationship building to improve customer experience with the company’s products and services. It is a less formal form of conversation and communication could be customer to customer or business to customer.

Social CRM can create an avenue to listen to the concerns, needs and preferences of the customer in a customer centric strategy that enhances corporate credibility and therefore brand equity and revenue. The FedEX story on GannetLocal blog illustrates this. 

One of those companies that have harnessed the power of social media to enhance credibility through Social CRM and have experienced financial growth as a result is Dell.

Linksys, Chordiant and Enterasys Networks are other examples of successful Social CRM to enhance corporate credibility.

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