Tag Archives: Social CRM

Social Media Creates a Connected Customer Experience

If you think your business is not ‘doing’ social media, you’re wrong. Your company may not be active, but I guarantee your fans and your non-supporters are there. It is the brand’s responsibility to create a social media experience that can turn a dissatisfied customer into a fan. These days, social media has become the equalizer between companies and customers, but utilizing social channels to their full potential can be complex if social media is not incorporated into a customer engagement strategy.
In fact, this year social CRM could witness a significant shift away from the use of social media as pure marketing, and instead collaborating for customer support interactions, according to Jenny Sussin, principal research analyst at Gartner . By 2015, the development of social media teams will accelerate, and by 2017, social media could achieve enterprise-wide clout. It is estimated that three percent of social media interactions that companies have with customers today may grow to 20 percent by 2016.
More and more businesses are experiencing the value of social media as a tool to improve the customer experience. It is being used as more than a communications platform, and is actually transforming into a means to ensure product quality and services. Positive social media interactions can contribute to customer satisfaction as well, but companies need to consider accessibility to ensure customers have the same experience whenever they interact with a brand on social media.
According to Sussin, developing a social media plan to improve the customer experience begins with assessing the organization’s social media maturity. Executives should then identify one aspect of customer engagement that would be improved through social media. After engaging stakeholders to bring social media into the customer engagement strategy, the values for success should be agreed upon. Lastly, a company should deploy a test and then iterate the strategy across the business.
That being said, here are seven ways for your company to create a memorable customer experience on social media:
Give Your Customers a Place to Talk
Companies are afraid to set up Facebook pages because they allow customers to comment, which means someone might write something negative. You should actually want customers to complain on your company’s Facebook page – when customers complain on your brand’s Facebook page, you can resolve their issues. And if you do it right, unhappy customers will turn their opinions around and recommend you to friends.
Integrate Social Media into Your Customer Service
Neglecting your social media properties when they’re full of customer complaints is brand suicide. Don’t open up the floor for complaints without a plan to handle them. Predict the complaints you may get and construct policies for replying to them. You should also plan on responding to fans who compliment you.
Activate Your Customer Base
Most brands have more customers than they do Facebook fans and Twitter followers. So, start building your social media fan base by reaching out to your current customers. Think about how you contact your customer base and how you can use those channels to draw customers to your social media properties.
Be Proactive
Don’t just wait for someone to post on your wall or tweet your account. Set your brand apart by proactively interacting with customers who are talking about your brand, whether you’re thanking them for a compliment or helping them solve a problem.
Reward Influencers
Find the social media influencers for your audience and give them extras. This could be as simple as giving them advance notice of a special promotion, or complex as giving them a free tour of your facilities. Reward your brand ambassadors when they least expect it and you’ll see great results.
Create Compelling Content
Give your fans something of value on your social media pages. Every brand can create quality content. Social media can be a channel to make customers or followers feel special, like they’re in an exclusive club with your brand because they follow you.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Some of the most memorable social media experiences are created by going beyond text. The more interactive and engaging your social media presence, the better.  By giving your fans a voice on social media, or encouraging participation through photos and videos, you humanize the experience.

Looking at Social CRM

Is Social Customer Relationship Management or “Social CRM” the “next big thing” in the social media world? The concept is nothing new, (when it comes to brands, what is social media good for if not building and strengthening relationships with customers?) but the best way to find, mine and integrate social media data for CRM is still being debated.

Back in February of 2011, #SocialC20 speaker Michael Tchong of Ubercool explored social CRM in this article wherein he cited the following statistic “26% of respondents said they currently integrate their customers’ social networking information with their existing CRM data, with 72% planning to integrate social networking information into their existing CRM system.”

Is your company part of that 26%? Do you think that number has grown since the article was written? With traditional CRM companies like Salesforce embracing the integration of social media data it seems likely.

Today I came across this article on CRM Buyer about the likely effect of Google+ on the social CRM world. I was particularly intrigued by the following quote:

“That’s because CRM is still seen at its elemental level as an IT function, and data in social media is still seen just as data — as in, data to be extracted, processed, filed and used at a later date. It’s very easy to remove data from the conversation, and thus the context; doing so minimizes the value of the data and represents a missed opportunity.”

Is it possible to find and use that data, while still remaining social and engaged? Or does the very act of seeing social conversations as a source of data for a company get in the way of maintaining an effective social media presence or encouraging a thriving online community? There must be room for both. As the article later went on to say, it’s a matter of finding a CRM software for monitoring conversations, but relying on a human to know how to use and react to the data.

“The human’s role will be to shoot for customer satisfaction, build customer knowledge, and boost the brand of the business; the technology can then collect data as a useful by-product of what the human’s trying to do.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Social CRM world, consider joining IIR for the Social Media CRM Symposium at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. You can view ongoing coverage of the conference as details develop on the Customer’s 1st blog here or by following @TotalCustomer on twitter.

Social CRM… for B2B?

Are you working in the B2B world and wondering if there is any room for B2B in the social media space?

Social Media isn’t just a place for B2C companies to announce promotions or sales or address customer concerns. In fact, it can be an excellent platform for B2B companies to create dialog and form engaging human connections with potential prospects, as well as track industry trends and position themselves as a thought leader in the space.

Check out this recent post on Fast Company for “6 ways B2B companies can take advantage of Twitter” as a starting point.

For more in-depth information on this topic, join us this October at the Social Media CRM
Symposium at the The Total Customer Experience Leaders (TCEL) summit. TCEL is about integrating the voice of the customer into disparate pieces of customer research data within B2B. Our Symposium Day will help you learn how to better manage your customer experience by linking social media research to financial value. To learn more about the event, download the brochure here.

Disruptive Technology and Social Media CRM

Lately we’ve been looking at the different ways that new technologies can change or improve customer experiences. From customer-centric mobile apps to complaints on social media channels, it’s clear that a company needs a digital strategy to survive.

It was with that in mind that I was pleased to read this recent interview in Fast Company on “Why Technology Is The Special Sauce In Growth Planning.” In the interview, guest blogger Lisa Nirell interviewed Erik van Ommeren of VINT (Vision Inspiration Navigation and Trends) on the ways that “technology is becoming increasingly pervasive in B2B buyer-seller relationships and strategic marketing endeavors.”

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the interview?

“Customers are seizing the opportunities to share their opinions and preferences, bringing more transparency in every market. For organizations, this means that they will have an even stronger motive to create honest and relevant interactions with their customers. Even if technology doesn’t change your company directly, the technology will change your customers’ behaviors. Through their changed demands, they will change your company.”

Honest and relevant interactions are happening as the result of new technologies. Customers are ready to share their experiences and opinions on digital media, and it is now the job of brands to catch up. Social Media and the rise of Social CRM as a practice makes this abundantly clear. Where traditionally CRM was all about using data to better target various customers, Social CRM allows brands to collaborate with customers to discover and solve problems and build meaningful relationships. As Erik says in the interview “It’s about people.”

Read the whole post on Fast Company here.

Looking to learn more about Social CRM? Join us at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit this October in Phoenix, AZ. At our Social CRM Symposium Day you will learn how to better manage your customer experience by linking social media research to financial value. Register for the conference here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.