Using Your CRM…the Right Way

August 28, 2013 | Don Pottinger

Social media has transformed from a personal pass-time to a fully integrated tool in the world of sales and marketing. Most would agree, there is no way to separate social from the overall business strategy but using Social Customer Relations the right way is still up for debate. Customers expect answers literally ‘now’ and waiting too long to respond is detrimental to a brand’s image. Customers want to feel heard, be acknowledged and hear the truth. This kind of transparency takes tact and social understanding so keeping your messages streamlined is imperative for success.

Here are some ideas on how to keep social relations with your customers & prospects in one place – your CRM.

CRM -Streamline-BusinessAre you equipped to handle customer complaints via your social media outlets? Consumers are done with the half-hour (or longer) wait time of customer support lines. Honestly – aren’t you too? So what is the new method of support? More and more it seems like Social Media is taking on that role. Customers realized fairly early on that if they make a complaint on a public forum, it was almost magical how fast their needs get met.

At first this may seem like rewarding behavior you don’t want. But this is the wrong way to view it. Honestly, the transparency and personality that comes from public support is refreshing and powerful.  It makes your brand honest and relatable, which creates stronger loyalty from customers who feel they are being heard. So having a team or a product to monitor your social media customer service and making sure that service is tied into your CRM is important.

Remember, there’s no room for emotional responses. Not only is social media a great tool for companies and brand awareness, but it’s the avenue of choice for bullies looking to provoke companies into getting a quick and thoughtless reaction. There’s no room for that in business so don’t play into their hand. Flag their accounts in your CRM so your team is aware of who they are and their destructive goals. You can never win with this crowd so using your CRM is a helpful way to keep track and monitor their comments.

Do you know who your social brand influencers are? You need to. This is simple to do if you know how to use your CRM tool. Influencers play a huge role in your overall marketing strategy. Good influencers will be your brand’s cheerleader. Build lists on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to segment your product influencers from customers and prospects. Create social campaigns (tag them in your CRM) and develop messaging to target each of these groups to enhance brand conversation.

Put a face on it! A real advantage of the social world we live in is that business transactions are no longer faceless. Allow employees to put their name at the end of a tweet or post so your interactions feel more HUMAN which creates a stronger customer/company bond.

Clearly define Social Support expectations. Set specific support hours and clearly outline response times for social complaints or issues. Remember, it is ok to take conversations offline for better follow up. Provide a phone and email address for more personalized support.

Utilize social profiles to identify trends in current customer base and prospects. Social profiles provide rich info like demographics, activities, interests, and opinions that your marketing team can segment to send better, more targeted, campaigns.  

DO NOT ignore the core functionality of your CRM.  Logging calls, emails and tasks may be considered “old school” in light of all the social media communications, but a Customer Relationship platform is for all of your prospects, customers and support activities. If a customer sends a support request via ticketing then again via Social Media, these need to be recorded in the same place so the customer receives one, succinct response. If there is a laps in communication between those who handle Social, and the account manger who handles the customer, the CRM tool becomes the saving grace for keeping track of it all.

  • Marlon Philip

    Great Post, I was at a company where the customer was trying to disparage the product via social media and it would have been awesome if we could have kept his comments in our CRM for historical purposes