Sunday, February 15, 2015

Social CRM is No Longer the “Stepchild” of Customer Interaction

expivia01 for Contact Center Muse writes: Change can be a scary thing, especially when your organization has done things one way for so many years when it comes to customer service and sales. Many marketing and customer service managers are from the “old school” ways of customer interaction where voice is king (which to a certain extent it still is). Pushing calls to poorly thought out self-service models and then to the contact center who is being measured with dated metrics as a last resort takes no imagination and is will hurt your company’s credibility in today’s service arena. While I will admit that inbound 1800 numbers are still the main connections channel from customers this is changing. I believe it is changing for the better as well.
The fact of the matter is that your customers are changing. Many customers in their 20’s and 30s have grown up with the internet. They have seen the change from the “let’s get online” stage to the full scale social CRM stage. They are used to using tablets and smartphones to connect with self-service apps and using click to call and video technology. When a customer receives a substandard product or service they do not call and complain anymore, they POST! They post to blogs, on twitter and on their Facebook accounts. No longer can an organization sit back and wait to fix problems from an inbound phone call.
To not allow or push customer interactions away is now a huge mistake. Having an opportunity to talk and interact with your customer should be treated at gold…why companies want to channel all interactions to a certain channel that they are comfortable with or worse yet to FORCE self-service is a huge mistake in my opinion. It’s time to change with the times.
Invite your customers to interact with you on multiple channels Social being one of them. here are a couple things we see when companies first roll out a social channel that they should try to avoid.

First problem with many companies social crm platform:

They use the tools they know about (Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Instagram…) to SHOUT to their customers.
They shout specials, deals and company news. They do not interact/engage with customers on a level that allows them to gain trust. Now don’t get me wrong, using social media to get information out is not all bad, it’s just one small step that a company needs to take. They cannot stop there.
Social media when done right cannot be one person talking and the other one listening. It needs to be a conversation. When you can get your customers to interact with you on this type of experience you have a customer that then will become an evangelist for your brand!
Companies must start to use available technology to search the social CRM world for posts that use key word for sales and/or service opportunities. This is now a process of vital importance. A company’s social antennae need to be listening at all times. If a disgruntled customer is posting negatively about your brand, you need to be proactive to talk to this customer to smooth out the issue.
In real time you can now search thousands of forums, blogs, Facebook accounts and internet searches. You can also respond to these customer and prospective customers in real time. With new open source technology like WebRTC, you no longer have to just use text or an email to talk to these customers. You can have a one on one face to face conversation without and downloading using this enhanced technology. WebRTC will be one of the new technologies that will be embraced by everyone in the next five year. Understand it now!
Remember, social media when ignored can really hurt your company with the same vigor a great strategy helps it.

The second problem with many companies social crm platform:

The rehashing of the same materials on social sites.
Many company social sites are basically just copies of the actual web site. The whole story or product will be copied or just the link gets posted on Facebook or tweeted out. All this drives is…boredom!
Your website is normally your crown jewel. Let’s enhance that asset! Your social platform should have different content but content that complements the site. Content that can engage and get a conversation going with customers and those interested in your product/service.
For example:
Let’s say your website is a travel site and you have a story on “Wines of the Central Coast of California”. Your Facebook page should not tell people that again with just a link to the story. It should be asking followers to take a look at the story and come back to post their favorite recipes that match those wines. Maybe you have your own recipes to compliment the story. You should always be thinking… How can I get a conversation going?
Take the time to enhance and compliment your social content to truly energize and engage your customers and followers.

Third mistake many companies are doing on their social crm platform:

The underuse and misuse of the company blog.
A well thought out blog with original and meaningful information is a very persuasive tool. Use your interactions with your customers or prospective customer to shape the content of your blog. Give them topics that will actually be interested. I have seen so many blogs that are just reposts from other sites (close to the above Facebook mistake). Take some time and have this done right. If your company does not have the time then there are many social marketing companies that can handle this for you. Not only will it get more eyes onto your website but when done correctly will have many people pass this information along; you are shaping your social message.
Great contact has so many plusses ranging from SEO benefits to customer engagement and brand loyalty opportunities. It’s a very cost effective way to check a lot of blocks off your marketing checklist!
I have just touched on a couple ways to use social CRM easily and cheaply for your organization. If you just did what was discussed here:
1) Set up your social platforms with different yet complimentary content. Make sure you are responding to all customer interactions proactively.
2) Start monitoring the web for all social interaction that may affect your organization. Once recognized start a conversation with text or by using state of the art cheap/free technology like Email/WebRTC to talk one on with a prospect/customer.
3) Set up a strong blog that is updated regularly with original and meaningful content. Make sure you use your customer interactions to shape the articles of your blog.
Just doing these three basic things are the first steps on the road to having a world class social CRM plan.