Doing It For The Fans
Any good small to medium business (SMB) will invest in customer relationship management (CRM) applications and blend it with social media in order to connect more readily with their customers. While social CRM is a rather new concept, businesses are beginning to understand how combining customer relationship management and social media can provide them the best of both worlds.
Today, social media is capable of providing more than just a way for friends and family to connect. By adding CRM into the mix, businesses can add the element of eCommerce, which can further allow them to leverage their social CRM in way to drive their optimal success.
Fortunately, this kind of leverage can be created. And best of all, it benefits both the buyer and seller. No SMB should be continuing its conventional sales, customer management, and marketing efforts without considering the benefits of social CRM. Below are some overlooked ways to leverage it for your own business:
1) Personalize Purchases
Social CRM is one of the most effective ways to encourage a customer to buy more products and services. Having a list of suggestions that are tailored to their purchasing behavior will impress them and show that you are genuinely taking an interest in their preferences and not just seeing it as another sale. Not only will it help build a relationship that will ultimately transcend into the exchange of money– it will make customers feel like they are more involved in the direction you’re taking your business.
For example, if you’re selling electronics such as smartphones, it would be ideal to leverage social CRM in a way to suggest other electronic accessories, including protective cases and headphones. You could also take it another step further to suggest apps that perform well with certain devices.
By giving your customers readily-available options to choose from, you’re also further enhancing their experience not only with the product, but with your brand as well. Gathering data on your customers can also help when they come back to purchase more products and services from your website—customers will appreciate companies that remember who they are.
2) Survey Says
A great way to leverage social CRM is to have them fill out surveys for data collection purposes. You shouldn’t ask them to give away too much personal data. Ask general questions like:
- What do they like about your company?
- What are their favorite products and services?
- What can be improved?
- What products and services would they like to see offered in the future?
While these questions may seem basic, it could provide you with some themes to build on.
By paying close attention to customer feedback, as well as responding to inquiries as soon as possible, a brand can help keep their customers in the loop so that they can continue progressing as a business.
3) Connect & Converse
While social networking allows businesses to use formal, predefined responses, social CRM gives businesses the ability to send routine messages to both existing customers and prospective clients, which makes it a very effective way of forming an interactive bond that is both appealing and engaging. Simply put: social CRM makes the customer feel appreciated.
By integrating at least two of the most popular social networks, social CRM can help to ensure customer satisfaction. Having an immediate way of being prompted to address multiple customer concerns at once can help a business personalize their social networking at the business level. By even adding the smallest amount of sensitivity to a situation, you’re giving your customers a reason to trust you.
If a company makes one mistake or even something that can be easily perceived as a mistake, it could mean a loss of customers and reputation, and more work for the public relations team to clean up – one can learn a good lesson from a certain Comcast customer service rep. You should keep a close eye on all conversations in your industry, especially if your brand is mentioned, and only engage when it is beneficial for you and the customer to do so.
Bottom Line: Social CRM Is The Way Forward
Social CRM is the way forward for businesses — social media and customer service were destined to cross paths and form a valuable asset for your company. Benchmark studies have shown that there are huge benefits when social CRM applications are implemented:
- Revenue increases up to 41% per salesperson,
- Shorter sales cycles (allowing sales to be completed more quickly)
- 300% lead conversion rate
- 27% more customer retention
- Lower sales and marketing costs
- Increased profit margins
Don’t wait to implement social CRM in your business—Gartner research director Claudio Marcus said, “CRM is not part of a business strategy; CRM is the business strategy.”
Hilary Smith is an online journalist and entrepreneur from Chicago, Illinois. In addition to discussing the importance of incorporating social media into a business’s CRM strategy, her writing also covers business communications, media marketing, and how to reach global markets. Follow her on Twitter today!