By Sachin Karweer, Business Head - HGS Interactive
The new millennium witnessed new leaps in technology that transformed the dynamics of customer expectations as we knew them. It was in this time of great evolution that we saw Social CRM being born out of the integration of social media and traditional customer relationship management (CRM). Today, Social CRM is considered the next frontier for brands that want to utilize the power of social interactions to be where their customers are and engage with them.
The Revolutionary Rise of Social CRM
It’s no longer about whether to engage with social media, but about how to.
The rise of social media has transformed the business landscape by offering new channels of discovery and enabling brands to connect to their customers in a more personal way. With hordes of companies joining this revolution, it’s imperative that companies face the brave new world by listening to their customer’s voice and improve their overall customer experience.
Customer transactions remain the cornerstone for any profitable business and Social CRM drives it. The faster that brands realize this, the better it is. Several reports support data that investing in social customer engagement is worth it.
Bain & Company recently released research suggesting that if companies engage with customers on social media and respond to their queries, they have a higher chance of receiving additional customer spends of 20-40% on that brand.
According to a Gleanster survey, 73% top companies consider customer service as the biggest reason to spend on social media. According to NM Incite, 71% customers who receive a proactive brand response in social media are most likely to recommend that brand to their friends; whereas in absence of such proactive action from the business, only 19% customers would like to recommend that product.
Social CRM & the Analytical Advantage
With rapid upheavals in social media, its ecosystem is a force to reckon with. Stay ahead of the game with analytics.
Today, more than 90% companies have a social media page, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. Facebook alone has over 1.42 billion users, with 4.5 billion likes generated daily, and approximately 75% of Facebook revenue comes from mobile advertising as 68% of Facebook users use mobile device to access content.
What a company needs is an integrated approach that centres on acquisition and retention of customers. With its customer-centric approach, Social CRM is certainly a game changer as it leverages the full capabilities of social media platforms, capturing messages on it and allowing huge amount of quantitative and qualitative data to be collected and analysed internally.
It’s a powerful weapon and you can benchmark your social media communications using tools, dashboards and metrics.
It starts with an in-depth understanding of the customer and makes use of engaging content to drive not only conversations but also conversions and customer value.
The buzzword here is ‘segmentation.’ The advanced targeting options provided by today’s social media platforms allow us to define audiences with precision and scale both. But businesses need to evolve their approach to segmentation. In social CRM, it is all about the creation and management of library of audiences on social media platforms.
Building a 360° View of the Customer
Get a holistic view of your customer and place them right at the heart of your company with new-age Social CRM.
Though considered unattainable, the much talked-about 360 degree customer view is possible when customer statistics are mapped with internal customer data and combined in an integral database, which lays the foundation for new-age social CRM.
It is a holistic approach that takes into account all available and meaningful information about the customer to drive better engagement, more revenue and long-term loyalty.
It is no longer necessary to coerce customers to use a particular channel and if they change channels, you can still keep track of issues efficiently. Happy and satisfied customers mean that everybody wins. However, Social CRM doesn’t just stop at customer response, it also finds and rewards brand advocates.
Online retailers like Netflix provide a personalized engine from the recommendations other customers provide, creating a viable ecosystem. The site www.woot.com publishes statistics about user interests and creates a sense of community.
By utilizing Social CRM, IKEA can see what your consumer preferences are via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other form of social media you use. Idea Cellular uses data analytics and web-crawling tools to monitor customers 24x7 and provide quick resolutions to their service requests. This has helped achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Businesses should focus on the various ecosystems that customers live in to enable a superior customer experience. For example, today’s customers live many lives at the same time – social, professional, personal and individual. All these blocks are interconnected. To win the heart of customer, companies should engage in a sustainable customer experience driving program. What it requires is a new business model driven by technologies.
According to a report published on Social Media Today, 83% B2B marketers prefer to invest in social media to increase brand exposure. Social Times suggests that social media marketing budget will be doubled in the next five years. This proves how Social CRM is a significant contributor to the success of holistic customer experience.
Social CRM & an Omni-Channel Experience
Social CRM holds the key to advertising in this age and omni-channel marketing is the outcome of multi-channel marketing efforts.
Omni-channel marketing is strategic, coordinated, integrated and customer-driven. All channels work together, governed by an over-arching strategy to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience.
Each channel is aware of interactions that have occurred on other channels, and each learns valuable information from overall customer behaviour to strengthen comprehensive channel experiences.
To share an example, a client of HGS Interactive (HGSi), a large media broadcasting company in India has set up an improved customer support program to not only answer viewers’ queries but also gain actionable insights through their interactions with the broadcaster and use it to enhance the overall customer experience (CX). HGSi delivered an omni-channel CRM solution involving a mix of email, voice calls and social media interactions, which involves a different set of skills and experience, and has made a big difference to how its consumers a.k.a television viewers perceive the broadcaster’s brand. The delivery team, comprising trained and efficient community managers, drives conversations for the broadcaster - replying to emails, responding on social media and interacting with consumers over calls to create a seamless experience for all users, irrespective of channel. Since early 2016, we have managed or responded to over 2 million transactions.
Social CRM is Here to Stay
To conclude, the future of social CRM is very promising and looks like it’s here to stay.
Customers are empowered with a fair degree of information sharing. If a company ignores the digital sentiments of customers, a competitor can outsmart and trail-blaze a better path with a better social CRM strategy.
Businesses across verticals believe that social CRM is the future of customer care. Using Social CRM, companies can reach out to customers and understand their point of view about any product or service and take proactive action from thereon.
From data mining to brand building and from customer experience enhancement to increasing revenues, businesses will find Social CRM a strategic business solution as it is an ideal way to create a win-win situation for the customers as well the brand involved.