Widespread social media usage means that CRM has to be conducted on social to deliver an all-round experience for the customer. Not only should social media be integrated into any existing CRM strategy and looked at from a touchpoint and channel perspective, but social media can also be used to drive CRM.
Social media platforms allow customers to easily share their brand experience (good or bad) with their online social connections, who in turn can share this experience on. This means a potential word-of-mouth audience of millions could witness a single user’s brand experience and weigh in on the situation.
Customers place a great deal of value on the opinions of their peers, and are more likely to look favourably on a brand, product or service if a peer has recommended or praised it.
Brands have realised that they need to leverage this in their CRM strategies and now understand that communication is not one way (from brand to consumer), or even two way (between consumer and brand) but multi-directional (brand to consumer, consumer to brand, consumer to consumer).
The convergence of social media with CRM has been termed social CRM or CRM 2.0, and has developed into a field on its own.
Social CRM and support
Social customers are increasingly turning to social media channels for support. With the immediate accessibility offered through mobile devices, they see this as a convenient channel to communicate with brands. This means that brands need to respond quickly and transparently to consumers’ questions, gripes and even compliments. A support query going unanswered on Twitter, for instance, is likely to cause frustration for the consumer, and prompt them to take a situation that is already visible to other consumers even further, potentially causing a brand crisis.
Brands should carefully consider whether all social media channels are appropriate for them, and be prepared for any eventuality. Brands that are well liked will generally have positive responses on social media, those that receive a mediocre response from consumers will have a bit of a mixed bag, but those that have a lot of support issues are likely to experience very large numbers of complaints that need to be addressed.
Social support staff should have access to all the historical data relating to customer issues such as all the data collected about previous complaints and reference numbers. These channels make customer support public. In this way, they can respond directly to the consumer in the social channel that they’ve selected and escalate the problem appropriately.
Social CRM and online monitoring
Social CRM can also make use of online reputation management and monitoring tools. Online monitoring, or reputation management, entails knowing what is being said about your organisation and ensuring that you are present in or leading the conversation.
By using these tools, brands can rate and sort these mentions based on their sentiment. This allows them to effectively test the temperature of the online community’s feeling towards the brand, which can then guide any future action.