Amex gets social with CRM

Credit card giant announces Web 2.0 integrations in Salesforce.com system at CeBit 2009.

American Express is turning to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter in an effort to better manage customer relations and boost customer service levels.

Speaking at CeBit in Sydney today, Jeffrey Evans, head of business intelligence and data management at American Express, said the company is to begin trialing an integration of Facebook and Twitter into its Salesforce.com CRM system with the goal of capturing customer feedback unavailable through traditional channels such as its call centres.

The trial, expected to begin within a week and run for up to two months, follows customers’ increasing use of social media as an outlet for their frustrations in life, such as dealing with banks and credit card agencies, Evans said.

“Customers are more likely to use social media to discuss their dealings with financial institutions, rather than talk directly to the institution itself,” he said.

“When people talk about American Express [on Twitter or Facebook]... and are frustrated with our service, we can actually pick that up in our service area and start to then deal directly with those people.”

Evans said the new capability would provide a way of increasing connectivity between the financial institution via its call centre staff - who would be trained up on using social media as a customer service tool - and customers.

IDC research suggests Australian companies are expressing above-average interest in how to adapt CRM to reach customers through social media, with approximately 65 per cent of large Australian companies factoring some form of usage or assessment into their plans for CRM.

"Certainly companies are more enthusiastically assessing social media applications as part of their marketing and customer management mix," IDC Australia's Tim Dillon said.

"In the current environment with ITC budgets under pressure, organisations are looking at any and all means of increasing touch points, interaction and customer care through multiple options."

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