By Robin Leonard
In today’s hyper social world, brand-customer engagement through digital platforms are no longer encouraged — they are expected. With smart phones, applications, and the Internet becoming part of anything and everything — at a rapid rate, might I add—marketers are continuously challenged to shape and reshape their CRM strategies to fit the needs of a digital, social market. Hence, the inevitable evolution from traditional CRM to social CRM. But, what exactly is it?
Social customer relationship management (CRM), first and foremost, is the use of social media services and technologies in order to interact and engage with customers. Although a huge part of it revolves around customer service, the effects of social CRM can reach the areas of sales, marketing, and even risk management—making it a pretty appealing investment all on its own.
Now, because it is a relatively new approach, a lot are still warily testing the waters. Questions are constantly raised about the effectiveness of social CRM and its present and future implications. How much is the ROI? What does this mean for our company? How do I track developments? Can I even do that?
Once and for all, we list down the answers to these concerns, and introduce you to the wonderful world of social CRM today and tomorrow:
Social CRM for Customer Service
In a study by Fanhub, it was found that 1 out of 4 Facebook and Twitter users expect a reply within an hour, while 66% of social media users expect a response within a day. These numbers just show how much of a standard and a growing necessity social customer service has become. Therefore, in order to keep up with the competition—and perhaps even lead the race—going digital with customer service is a must.
Customer Service Today
How do we know our social customer service is working as it should? These key features are expected from effective social customer service:
- Enrichment of customer data with social data
- Ability to receive and respond to inbound social messages
- Ability to receive and respond to complaints when they are not directed to your pages
- Tracking of all communication history so it can be referred to by other channels
- Ability to measure contact center metrics (e.g. average response time)
Customer Service in the Near future:
Companies will treat social customer service as the preferred customer service channel. Why do we say so? Because it is so much more affordable and accessible than call centers, that’s why! It is growing at a rapid rate, and more businesses and customers are realizing its potentials. It is simple, convenient, and a very worthy investment!
Social CRM for Sales
Did you know that social CRM can actually increase sales by 29%? We’re not kidding!
There are a gazillion things you can do with social CRM, and one of them is making sure your company is crushing its sales quota. If you know the ropes, you can go beyond exposure, see results in numbers, and boost physical sales. There goes the answer to your ROI question.
Salespeople use social to search for potential leads manually, key their social leads into CRM and set tasks to follow up. Basically, this is a manual sales approach using Social and CRM together.
Sales in the Near future:
CRM will harvest data from social and, based on machine learning algorithms from historical sales, it will suggest leads that have a higher likelihood of conversion. The CRM may also run through a series of automated messages to warm the lead up before presenting it to a salesperson. The key difference here is that you start capturing customer data in CRM before they even become a contactable lead.
Social CRM for Marketers
It’s been long-established that social media is great for engagement and interaction, but as the landscape continues to shift, practices will keep on changing, and trends will either become standards or die down. As you may now realize, by social CRM for Marketers, we don’t just mean having a social media account.
Platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) are excellent at pulling together multiple data sources for seamless multi-channel 1:1 marketing. They make great use of programmatic and machine learning technology to ensure self-improving conversion and customer satisfaction numbers. In simpler words, you get to collect data from social, and utilize it. What do your customers want? What will drive them to your store? What will turn them from visitors to frequents? These social platforms are no longer just a stage to exhibit your offers. They have become an all-around, all-reaching marketing tool.
Marketing in the Near future:
The massive amount of behavioral and social data being collected across an organization, mixed with democratization of machine learning technology, will allow the average marketer to predict customer behavior accurately and provide hyper relevant offers.
This particular stint has been recently done by Target, an effort to pinpoint expecting mothers and provide them irresistible offers before anyone else does. While this is a clever approach, critics have raised their concern over privacy and security.
Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, has been quoted on CNBC, stating that “It’s kind of like the Tom Cruise movie, ‘Minority Report. This predictive world is on its way and I’m not sure we’re fully ready for it.”
Social CRM for Risk
Prevention maybe better than cure, but preparation for the worst case scenario is always the smart choice—especially now in the digital age.
Social media has provided the world with uncensored platforms that everyone has free access to. Your reputation is easily on the line, and you have to protect your brand like its life depended on it… which, in today’s reality, it kind of does.
Risk Management Today:
Social listening platforms like Radian6 are used to measure and analyze risk, in the hopes of understanding its anatomy—keeping you updated on industry buzz, rumors, news, complaints, feedback, and all that. Likewise, CRM can be used as a notification tool to communicate with existing customers in the midst of crises. After all, you need to spot the risk and understand it before you can truly do anything. Social CRM, believe or not, can save the day.
Risk Management in the Near future:
Machine learning algorithms will be able to predict the likelihood of a crisis in your business using various data sources that include social, usage, ERP, and macro economic data, among others. Much like the innovations in Social CRM and marketing, it will bring forth a cutting-edge approach to business planning, and will ideally determine and advise you on handling different kinds of crises, if and when they arrive.
Social CRM is rapidly expanding, and its future is closer than we all think. Want to talk social? Drop us a line to learn more.