Every business knows the value of good customer relations management (CRM), and most have finally woken up to the true value of social media management and community participation. The next step frontier may be a little less familiar, however: Social CRM.
Social CRM is the missing link between sales and marketing, a modern approach to monitor and engage customers that ultimately drives sales, according to a recent blog post in Business2Community by Rachel Miller.
She pointed to a social CRM definition by Esteban Kolsky in the Three Reasons You Will Do Social CRM: “[Social] CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction in a business environment,” according to Esteban.
Miller wrote that the key to social CRM is planning. She outlined 10 steps businesses can take to craft effective social CRM for their firm.
The first steps involve setting the table. This includes assembling a team to handle social CRM, training them on the nuances of social media, and auditing all of a company’s social media accounts.
“The nuances of online communication are integral to building and maintaining successful customer relationships,” Miller wrote. “To guarantee success, all team members should participate in communication skills training to improve their ability to converse effectively online.”
Firms will want to make sure they present a consistent and positive message by crafting a style guide and being ready for negative customer interactions by having a disaster plan ready at the onset.
“Be prepared for negative engagement,” Miller advised. “A disaster plan will dictate how employees should respond to negative feedback and any potential disaster. Create scenarios and openly discuss with employees to determine the most appropriate response timeline.”
Once the foundation is in place, companies will want to make sure they both monitor prospects and customer conversations, and that they make sure to respond and resolve them.
“Response time is crucial to successful sCRM,” Miller stressed. “Always respond to everyone, positive or negative, and do so in a timely manner. Be sure to include specific timeframe expectations in your social customer service strategy for questions and service or product issues.”
Finally, engage and educate the audience, include some humor to amuse customers (but nothing corny, please) and, above all else—make sure the focus is on converting social interactions into sales.
As fun as it is to see a funny company message go viral, Miller noted, it should never be forgotten that the ultimate goal is sales.
“Effective sCRM opens the door for developing a permission-based dialogue between a company and customer,” she wrote. “Successful social customer relationship management will increase revenue by directing a higher volume of qualified leads to your website and/or specific conversion pages.”
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Edited by Stefanie Mosca