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Unlock the power of social media for your business using CRM

10th Dec 2014
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The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) reveals that consumers are more dissatisfied with their customer experience than ever before, and it is becoming increasingly evident that businesses now need to work harder at meeting consumers’ expectations. Customer-centricity is becoming more important than ever in today’s world of commerce and, as social media expands into all areas of our lives, our day-to-day personal contact with brands is increasing dramatically.

Customers expect consistent, helpful and friendly communication from brands and, if they don’t get it, they are prepared to take their custom elsewhere. A culture of immediacy has developed. Businesses are under increased scrutiny and pressure to adapt in order to meet the demands of a marketplace which is increasingly centred around technology, mobility and social-media. If brands ignore the demands of the modern consumer they will find that sales drop and their bottom line suffers. What can businesses do to meet the demands of the modern customer and differentiate versus competitors offering similar products and services?

The adage is that ‘people buy from people.’ Customers need to feel that they are treated as individuals and not as just another number on a list. In the expanding customer services industry personalisation can be the route to marketing cut-through, success and profitability. Social media can support this process significantly; it not only allows customer-facing employees to engage directly with customers on a one-on-one basis in real time but also gives access to elements of customer information such as location, or even facial images.

Today businesses can use social media to connect to their customer in a much more immediate and personal way than other communication channels. As a result, businesses are able to tailor their customer service and make customers feel more valued as individuals. If customers see that brands are endeavouring to personalise the customer experience, they are more likely to want to recommend and purchase the enterprise’s services or products.

The way a brand is perceived on social media is vitally important, especially since customers are now able to express their views and feed back not only to businesses but to the entire cyber-sphere instantaneously. This makes listening vital, since social media delivers insight into what people are saying about brands, products and services, and allows them to better understand their target market. However, making social customer service truly effective takes more than listening alone; it means arming customer-facing employees with better and more integrated customer information.

For many businesses, this customer information is currently spread across many different communication channels; creating a coherent view can pose an overwhelming challenge. A system is needed to aggregate information from across the different channels before they can provide a complete customer view which enables customer-facing employees to access this vital data that can mean the difference in converting a warm lead into a hard sale.

CRM, with its ability to analyse and collate data, can assist businesses in managing and making sense of all this customer data and apply it effectively. With the right CRM tools in place, social media insights can be captured and integrated with customer data, and the right information then made accessible to all customer-facing employees. Social media can help businesses to deepen their customer information, enabling them to spread the benefits of personalisation further across the business. As a result, processes are coordinated in a more time and cost efficient way leading to high quality leads in the sales pipeline.

Delivering any truly customer-centric solution must be thoroughly planned with a clear picture of the target market in mind. Anything that boosts and adds colour to that picture has business value. Businesses must increasingly orient around their customers, and that means treating all customers as individuals. If they get this right, businesses will thrive; they will be able to differentiate their brand, strengthening its reputation and build higher value customer relationships that ultimately help them to achieve greater business success.

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