Whenever I run into a problem with a service I frequently use, I try to reach out to the brand on social media. This is not just so I can (hopefully) find a solution to the problem, but I also do it to see how that brand handles social media interactions with regular customers. For example, I often tweet my mobile service provider, my grocery delivery app, the airline I choose to fly on when I travel, the hotel I always stay at during repeat work trips, and so on.
And it's not just me - according to recent research by Nielsen, 33% of consumers prefer to contact brands on social media rather than over the phone.
Whenever I tweet out to any of these brands associated with my life and work, I expect that they'll identify me as a customer and see the past and recent transactions I've had with their brand, including the services I've availed or subscribed to.
I almost always receive a response from the brand within a couple of hours of my tweet, but I'm generally also disappointed to discover that they fail to recognize me as a customer. Instead, their response is usually something along these lines:
"Please send us a message with your customer ID, your email address, your invoice number, your booking ID, your last transaction, your date of birth, your mother's maiden name, your first teacher's name and the name of your pet. We'll get back to you."
Ok, I may have exaggerated a little there. They don't ask for ALL of those details every time. But they certainly ask for one or more of them.
The problem with this sort of a response is that it's inadequate, impersonal and awkward. It's the equivalent of not recognizing a regular customer when they walk into your store, the equivalent of using a phone without a caller ID so you can't greet your customer by name when they call you.
Most importantly, it's a missed opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into one filled with the delight that comes from feeling acknowledged as a patron.
As a brand, you're able to identify your regular customers when they meet you or call you, so why should you miss this context on social media? The way to fix this problem is so simple and so obvious, that I'm surprised so many brands still haven't done it: use a social media tool that integrates with your CRM.
If you do use a social media tool that integrates with your CRM, you will be able to:
Identify customers when they contact you on social media
Be aware of issues that customers have faced in the past and recent interactions they have had with your brand
Proactively reach out to customers on other channels (such as phone, email) without asking for their contact details when they reach out to you on social media
Using relevant, contextual information to provide better, quicker customer support on social media is an easy way to delight your customers. Research indicates that customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3X more likely to recommend a brand.
And that's not all. Being able to take care of your existing customers on social media is only one of the many reasons to use a social media tool that's integrated with your CRM. You can go on to do a lot more, like generating leads from social networks, sharing inputs from social media for sales, and tracking how much revenue is earned from your social media marketing efforts.
So, if you're not already using a social media tool that talks to your CRM, there are good reasons to consider making the switch to one.