Microsoft Primes Dynamics CRM for Social Engagement

Updates to the company's CRM platform help businesses graduate from Social Listening to full-blown engagement, setting the stage for social CRM.

Microsoft CRM and social media

Building on last year's release of Social Listening, a suite of social sentiment and analytics capabilities for Dynamics CRM, the company is rolling out Microsoft Social Engagement this week. Social Listening is based on NetBreeze social analytics application technology, which Microsoft acquired in 2013.

"The new name is more than just a branding change," Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said in an April 24 announcement. "It reflects a completely reimagined user experience for companies, extending beyond social listening and sentiment analysis to offering true social engagement."

When it comes to incorporating social media outlets into marketing and customer service initiatives, business must do more than just listen, suggested Stutz. That is, if they're listening at all.

Citing data from Satmetrix, a customer experience management specialist, Stutz said 39 percent of companies don't track customer discussions pertaining to their brand and 55 percent simply ignore customer feedback on Twitter and Facebook. "A single bad post or tweet that is not managed can significantly and permanently impact a company's brand and reputation," Stutz said.

This week's release of Microsoft Social Engagement includes new enhancements that enable businesses to more seamlessly integrate Twitter and Facebook into their CRM activities. Organizations can now add authenticated social accounts, setting the stage for a more seamless social media experience for users.

The product's Social Center supports internal actions, allowing managers to assign a social media post to a user, along with a status label. Users can also now respond natively from the application with new external actions. On Twitter, these include Reply, Retweet, Favorite and Direct Message. Facebook users can Like, Comment, Share and Private Message.

Microsoft Social Engagement will also enable users to home in on the trends and topics that affect their brands.

"Sales, marketing and service professionals can now set up search topics in an easier and more flexible manner," said Stutz. "They now have the ability to define rules by the following criteria: keyword, Facebook page and Twitter handle. Projected quota usage is displayed, as well as a preview of Twitter posts, to give them an idea of the type of results they can expect."

Users will be greeted with a redesigned user interface with visual filtering capabilities. The application's social analytics tools "now include richer data with new visualizations, such as phrase clouds, top fans, top critics and top hashtags giving greater insights to our customers," noted Stutz.

Microsoft is also gearing up to launch more social-enabled CRM tools, this time aimed at sales professionals. "Coming soon (Summer 2015) will be Social CRM, the complete end-to-end customer experience giving salespeople the ability to convert social posts into leads, opportunities, cases or any custom CRM entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM," Stutz announced.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...