Tweet Angel Twitter Service Shows Increasing Diversity in CRM Market
Twitter is everywhere, and businesses that don't get in on the social phenomenon may quickly find themselves behind the times and less relevant as other more agile companies respond directly to customer feedback. Thanks to the social media site's popularity, customer relationship management (CRM) options are now springing up there to help midsized businesses deal with everything from selecting appropriate Twitter handles to Tweeting effectively to running damage control on bad Tweets. This is where start-up Tweet Angel comes in, but has the market gone too far? Does CRM now go where it's really not needed?
A recent TechCrunch article discusses the release of the CRM offering known as Tweet Angel, designed to help those businesses that don't have the "skills, time or resources to monitor a social media account". The service monitors any Twitter accounts owned by a business and when a negative Tweet about the business is made, the business will receive a phone call--an actual phone call--with the details of the Tweet as well as the option to respond directly or dictate a response that will be entered on the company's behalf.
Comments for the article revealed that one of the managing partners of the CRM service is a TechCrunch contributor, and the general response to his company's offering is that it fills an unnecessary gap, one that could easily be filled by taking the few hours needed to learn how Twitter works. As CRM options become more powerful, and in this case more diverse, these kinds of concerns are no surprise; are there some things companies should just do for themselves?
According to an article at eCommerce Times, it's not the rise of new, questionably useful forms of CRM that will negatively affect the market as whole but rather a lack of understanding on the part of businesses about how CRM solutions work.
The article says that often, a business will develop a CRM strategy and invest in a product but then only use the most basic functions of that product until they feel it no longer meets their needs--at which point they'll go looking for an upgrade. Though in many cases the customer management solution in place has far deeper functionality, businesses and their IT departments don't search for it because things are "working as intended."
In part, it's this glossing over of many advanced features and the temptation to let the CRM do all the work that has expanded the market for new vendors like Tweet Angel. While the idea that a service will monitor Twitter for negative feedback and take care of it with only minimal time investment from a business seems attractive at first glance, questions arise about the monthly or yearly fees associated with such a product. How much CRM is too much?
Ultimately, every midsized business needs to find a "sweet spot" where they have enough CRM to get the job done, but not so much that it becomes a money or time sink. Right now, the market is full of products that have broader and deeper features that aren't being used to their fullest--leaving room for improvement. But extremely focused start-ups are also in the mix, and companies that want a very specific solution to social media problems will find CRM providers eager to supply those services--for a fee.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Businessprogram, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.