Social Media with CRM – what you can do with SAP's new offering

20 March 2014

Michael Bowell

Michael Bowell


I was excited to hear that SAP was offering social media integration into its CRM technology as part of its latest enhancement pack. I wanted to see just how easy (or not!) SAP had made it to tie up a corporate social presence into a SAP CRM environment. So I decided to set up the integration with Twitter and find out exactly what can be done with this new piece of kit.

Initially, I expected to be presented with a configuration table where I could specify which social media platform I would be integrating with, and then another configuration table where I would enter my Twitter details. This wasn’t the case. Not only did I have to implement code, but there were also areas which required plugging with bespoke code. My first impressions were that SAP hadn’t put a lot of focus into this area.

However, after further tinkering around, I managed to get a working integration between my Twitter account and our in-house SAP CRM demo environment. It was at this stage, I realised the exact benefit SAP has given in this solution. It wasn’t railroaded into Twitter. It’s completely expandable into any social media platform as long as you have a set of APIs for your SAP CRM system to talk to. SAP had provided sample code to use for a Twitter integration, which is implemented by the consultant, so again it’s completely expandable.

So what can you do with it?

Twitter integration scenario

If a customer tweets at my twitter handle, this is picked up by my SAP CRM system via batch job which runs every two minutes. Depending on my database, sentiment analysis is automatically performed, so an Interaction Centre agent can determine which tweet to deal with first depending on your social media strategy. Its main feature is that it integrates straight into the Interaction Centre. In the inbox, the agent can see if the tweet has come from a known customer, such as a customer who has previously raised a product error. If the twitter handle is unknown to the system, but we know who the tweeter is, the agent can create a CRM account off the back of that tweet and tie it to the twitter handle. From then on, any tweets from that handle are automatically pinned against a CRM user.

If the inbound tweet needs a reply, for example a serious issue with a car, the agent can tweet directly from the Interaction Centre without having to navigate to my twitter account. I found the speed of the reply to be instant as there is no need to wait for a batch job. You can also retrieve details from the user account on social media network via a simple “retrieve” button. From twitter it’s pretty light what you get back, however other sites such as Facebook will obviously give you other marketing attributes such as Gender or Location. Such intelligence can completely change how you reply.

In my scenario, I configured the ability to raise an Interaction Record of an inbound tweet. In the record, I can see exactly what was discussed in the twitter conversation and raise a Service Request if I need, which will include the make and model collected from the customer account. The key benefit here is if there is a serious product fault, such as mechanical failure, which is the responsibility of the provider to fix, a service team can be mobilised very quickly by triggering the service process. The power of being able to do this off a tweet alone I find personally amazing.

It is also required that a clear business scenario is agreed so that it makes sense from an end to end perspective. At the beginning of the set-up, there were a few frustrations around requiring implementing multiple SAP notes. In one case I needed to talk directly to an SAP developer to get past a bug. But this situation is already improving as SAP advance the solution.

Three suggestions to organisations using this 

  1. Ensure you have dedicated resource. Looking at this from an end user perspective, a dedicated resource team which understands the social platform will be required to monitor and act on this Service Channel.  In order for this particular service channel to be a success, clear integration, right through to relevant service teams, need to be agreed, or else complaints and requests will be easily lost.
  2. Train your agents with a clear strategy of what you want to achieve. For example if you are gearing towards managing your online reputation, it’s a given that you should focus around the sentiment analysis that comes with the solution. Ensure you have dedicated teams monitoring this channel. And make sure this channel is part of a clear customer service strategy, not a bolt on afterthought.
  3. The moment you have an inbound post that doesn’t have a CRM account tied to it, create one! Having the insight to know who tweets you on a regular basis is vital, especially if they have a large number of followers on a twitter network. A complaint via telephone can only be heard by select few people, but a complaint over twitter can potentially be seen by thousands of people. The business needs to think carefully about the dangers of opening themselves up to a completely open service channel, which I will discuss in my next blog.



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