The original buzz word phrase of Customer Relationship Management began as a process to help companies manage their customers and potential customers by using a database full of information about that person's buying habits. It helped companies maintain and improve customer relationships and hone in on the most successful and promising target audiences. From there an organization could concentrate on potential new sales, support, and marketing strategies to retain customers and find new ones.
Now we have progressed to a Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM) which takes us from the original CRM and now adds new communication channels via the social web to concentrate on better customer relationships. No longer do customers just call and speak to customer service representatives; customers speak to each other, comment on articles, research common opinions, and blog. The expansion of the social media therefore requires companies to be aware of what is being said about them and who is saying what about them. When companies are not aware of the positive and negative, can it be perceived by customers and clients that the company or service just doesn't care enough to answer?
A recent Nielsen survey states that the primary online communication of today is Twitter; its unique visitors have increased 1,382 percent since 2009. Why not then use this popular line of communication to positively engage customers and build trust and brand loyalty? Here are some suggestions of what can be done:
- Brand Auditing - Be aware of what is being said and the general sentiment of a company's brand. Watch criticism, review feedback, and pay attention to marketing successes and failures.
- Making the Personal Connection - Sales people can track personal details about their clients and customers, and continue the personal connection by sending out birthday cards, communion cards, or favorite chocolates. It can give the names of their children or favorite charities. The Get Social Twitter Pro Module which helps a company leverage customer relationships will track a client's last 20 tweets to give even more of an insight into a person's life and what they are doing.
- Market Tracking - Companies can track users and consumers who love a product but aren't necessarily customers of a particular brand. For instance, I have a Keurig coffee maker which I find incredible, yet I was not the purchaser. Still positive consumers like me are potential customers.
- Company Support - Social CRM can track keywords and give continued support about a product. When someone from the company is listening, angry customers can be immediately identified and referred to a customer service agent who can act upon negative comments and avoid potential damage.
Practicing Social CRM invites customers and clients to interact with a company and manage customer relationships with more success while saving money from potential unknown fire storms and risking the lost of valuable customers.