Redmond has rebranded its Social Listening product as Microsoft Social Engagement, and in the process has added new capabilities. The new features, announced Tuesday, build on last year's release of Microsoft's Social Listening tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which offered social analytics tools to help sales, marketing and service teams gain insight into customers’ views about their brands.
As Microsoft Social Engagement, the product has been updated with enhancements including a redesigned user interface with additional filtering capabilities and simplified dashboards, while the marketing and services teams can set up search topics using keywords, Facebook pages and Twitter handles. The product will be available starting next week.
More Than a Brand Change
The company said the new version was more than a brand change in an announcement on its Web site, referring to it as "a completely reimagined user experience for companies, extending beyond social listening and sentiment analysis to offering true social engagement."
We reached out to Jeremy Cox, a CRM analyst for Ovum, who told us the upgrade should be useful for companies who got value out of Microsoft Social Listening.
"This is another part of the sense-and-respond capabilities that are essential if firms are to be truly customer-adaptive, [which equals] persistent customer relevance," said Cox. "[This is a] useful addition to the real-time, in-context sensing capabilities."
The product also offers enhanced social analytics and data visualization capabilities, as well as a social center feature that enables users to proactively monitor and manage social media streams. Users can also respond natively to posts from within the social media stream and add authenticated Twitter and Facebook accounts to better interact with customers.
In announcing the availability of Microsoft Social Engagement, Microsoft also said it will launch Social CRM this summer. That product is a complete customer relationship management (CRM) solution that lets sales teams convert social media posts into leads, cases or any custom CRM entity in Dynamics CRM, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft maintains that businesses need these new capabilities now more than ever. The company cited a survey by Satmetrix that found that 39 percent of companies do not track social media customer commentary, and 55 percent of companies ignore customer Feedback on Twitter and Facebook.
"Beyond these new social engagement capabilities, what gets me most excited is how businesses are using social channels to better engage with their customers," said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "We are excited about next week’s general availability and the increased capabilities we are delivering to businesses."
The product’s social analytics feature includes richer data with new visualizations, such as phrase clouds, top fans, top critics, and top hashtags. Other enhancements include an internal actions feature that assigns a post to a user and also applies a status label that the user can then define in the settings area. External actions in the new product allow users to respond natively from within each stream with certain actions, including reply, retweet, favorite, and direct message on Twitter.
The social profiles setting lets users add authenticated Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing them to interact with their audiences on social posts coming from those platforms. Finally, sales, marketing and service staff can set up search topics using keywords, Facebook pages, and Twitter handles. Projected quota usage is displayed, as is as a preview of Twitter posts.