If you're not already using social media for customer relationship management (CRM), now is the time to start. Research shows that users post half a billion tweets on Twitter every day. These tweets are not just scathing political commentary or a funny GIF. A good portion of theses tweets include interactions between businesses and their customers.
Online customer interactions with brands grew 70% between 2013 and 2014. According to McKinsey, 30% of these people prefer a direct message over sitting on hold on a customer service line. This is understandable. After all, this is an on-demand world. Waiting around for someone to answer the phone is a thing of the past.
The question now is not how companies can use social media to resolve issues. It is how they can use social media to develop deeper relationships with their customers.
Why Go Social?
The most compelling reason to move your CRM to social media is because this is where your customers now live. It is the best place to get closer to customers because you can connect with them wherever they are. It is in this anywhere-anytime connection that the huge potential lies.
Because of this potential, there is also the opportunity for other positive things. Building greater relationships with you customers can increase your revenue. The more connected you are with your customers, the more loyal they will be to your brand.
Also, moving CRM online can help you cut costs and become more efficient. The combination of fast feedback and collaborative problem solving results in faster resolutions. This means that you and your customers can get back to business with less time and money wasted.
Managing Customer Expectations
If you're going to use social media as a way to reach customers, it is best to play by their rules.
The social sphere wants instant communication. Customers expect this of their friends and they will expect this from you. In fact, one in four social media users think that brands should reply to their messages online within the hour.
This is where many social media newbies go wrong. To use CRM on social media in a productive way, you need to equip yourself with the tools you need to solve problems in this manner.
This preparation is essential. Mismanaging these problems can damage your reputation rather than strengthen it. This is because it all happens in the public sphere. Mistakes can live on the internet forever.
Your customers also expect you to produce quality content. They are more interested in looking at news and information than they are in promotions. Thus, you should construct a strategy that offers a balance between the two.
Above all, you should aim to keep your voice genuine and your content engaging. This helps assure your customers that they are interacting with real people and not faceless companies.
Three Ways to Use Social Media for CRM
There are three great ways to use social media when working with customers.
The first way is to use it for managing complaints. Social media is a good platform for complains. This is because it is easier to deal with detailed complaints in writing compared to working over the phone.
To deal with complaints, you should follow a two-step process. In step one, you need to respond to the public message posted by the customer. This is crucial because it allows other people to see that you do respond to these messages.
In step two, you move the conversation into the private sphere. The best thing to do is to try to resolve it via direct messaging on the platform. Only if the situation is too complicated should you ever move away from the social media network.
Social media in CRM does not need to be all about complaints. In fact, you should also use it positively. A good way to do this is to reward loyal customers. Customers who engage with your brand online are valuable to you and expend a lot of brain power in advocating your business. Thus, you can and should provide them with the rewards and incentives to continue doing so.
You can reward them online by liking or sharing their posts. However, do not skip the offline rewards. You can reach out to your favorite followers to collect their details to send them special gifts.
Finally, you can use social media to create more value in your products. There are opportunities online for you to both upsell and cross-sell your products.
Using social media for upselling is not about the sales pitch itself. It is about taking advantage of the right opportunities at the right time.
This is why it is important to keep up with what your customers are saying. You will then see these opportunities begin to come up organically. This provides you with a moment to swoop in, offering a valuable solution to those in need.
Your customers are already online. If you choose to meet them, you can use social media to build deeper relationships that benefit you both.