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This week at DSAG, which is the SAP User Group conference for German-speaking countries, we exhibited our Social CRM offerings. Due to the tremendous interest in leveraging SAP offerings to manage consumer reviews, we decided to write a short follow-up to our last blog.

For some industries, user opinions are given so much weight that evaluation management has become one of marketing’s most important tasks. Foremost among these is the hotel industry. The tremendous growth of TripAdvisor, and similar review sites, is evidence of the power of social business. It’s fair to say that consumers are storming to web applications that provide user – in this case guest – reviews. Many websites even bundle guest opinions from other review sites and offer of course travel booking services. As a result, traditional service providers are struggling to reach the masses.  Indeed, they are even experiencing customer churn.

As Firgure 1 shows, the phenomenon of customers increasingly informing themselves with the opinions of others holds true for many industries.

Figure 1: Internet users find out about user opinions …

(See: ACTA 2011: “Trends in e-commerce and social networks as a brand platform”)

When we make purchases these days, we have access to new means that make us “smarter” than ever before. Consumers can leverage a wide variety of sources including consumer reviews, blogs, company websites, social networks, price comparison websites, etc. Interestingly enough, this not only holds true for luxury goods like a new phone or car, but also for commodity goods such as water or paper.

How companies react to social feedback varies from buying fake consumer reviews at one extreme to not caring what’s being said at the other.  Let’s assume we are taking review management seriously. How do we best monitor what’s being said? To begin with, our companies can take advantage of modern monitoring capabilities that not only provides us with consumer review data, but also gives us data specific to our brands, products or services. SAP Social Media Analytics by Netbase equips us with such advanced monitoring & analysis capabilities. The tool yields these results thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment Analysis technology. Check out our overview video here.

The next step is to act based on what’s being said. SAP Social Customer Engagement OnDemand (click link to see video) helps companies better manage incoming feedback and service requests from social channels.  It achieves this by routing comments from sources such as Facebook or Twiter to the appropriate experts. The solution comes with out-of-the-box integration to Social Media Analytics  This equips our organizations with modern CRM ticketing capabilities as well as embedded analytics. Our companies can now engage directly with consumers where it makes sense.

Another important prerequisite for high quality engagements is our ability to foster collaboration – internally and externally. Consequently, the term “Social biz” not only addresses our company’s mindset towards social media and dialogue marketing, but also our openness and IT capabilities around social collaboration technologies. SAP social software offerings provide such cross-enterprise social platform capabilities so we can collaborate as a team, as a division or a company with our customers and partners. Check out blog by Esteban Kolsky (@ekolsky).

One potential starting point is to contact the Co-Innovation team at SAP. We haven’t managed to identify the wasted half of the advertising budget yet, however, we are succeeding in managing an ever more important aspect of the purchasing decision.  We hope you’re  enjoying the blog series: “march to Madrid”. See you at SAPPHIRE NOW!

Let us know your thoughts.

Niclas Otte (@ottenic) and Sven Denecken (@SDenecken)