9 Tools to Track Your Customer Experience Program’s Performance
How to Define Processes That Yield Insights for Your Social CRM
The Social CRM Setup

How to Interact with the Social CRM Customer

Most businesses understand that they need to focus on the fact that their Social CRM customers are talking back in record numbers. The part they often overlook is the establishment of effective plans to listen to their customers. Listening effectively requires staff and resources dedicated to the effort.

Once they have the resources in place, the data then needs to be analyzed to provide real value to the entire organization. The question, then, becomes what to monitor. It’s easy to follow a Twitter stream or look at daily Facebook comments, but brands have to go much deeper to get any real meaning from these comments. They need to understand trends and be able to predict what comes next.

Listen to the customer

With the advent of big data, listening to the customer becomes one of the most valuable ways companies figure out what customers want. It can be problematic because there is so much of it. You need to figure out how to analyze and use it. In his book CRM at the Speed of Light, Paul Greenberg cites a Price Waterhouse study from 2008 called How Consumer Conversation Will Transform Business.

In the study, Price Waterhouse identified these four ways to monitor the customer conversation in a meaningful way:

  • Volume: This refers to the amount of conversation about your brand. Spikes in conversation should be closely monitored by the social media team. Does a lack of volume indicate disinterest or satisfaction? One way to determine this is to ask readers to tell you about how your product has helped them. Offer the respondents a free report for participating. If they don’t respond, it could indicate lack of interest.

  • Tone: Is the conversation favorable? If it’s not, it’s important to determine if it’s a trend and to what extent it relates to a specific issue. Major PR disasters can arise if no one is listening. If it is, you might amplify that by engaging with the writers.

  • Coverage: How large is the conversation? Do you have a host of voices, or is most of the conversation generated by a small number of people? This is an important measure. If you’re trying to expand your reach, you’ll want to study why that small group is engaged and figure out how to find others who fit that profile.

  • Authority: Are industry influentials and high-ranking businesspeople discussing your brand? If so, have you established a dialogue with them? If not, why not? You need someone to take the initiative to contact influentials and find out how you can grow your relationship with them without seeming self-serving.

When the data is categorized in these four ways, all functions in the organization can use these categories to make better decisions. You can see how customer service would want to be aware of data about the tone, and the marketing department would want to know about authoritativeness. The sales team would want to know about authoritativeness to determine if any of their accounts were part of a larger discussion.

The key is to make sure everyone gets this data. That’s the big challenge in making social CRM a reality.

Sell to the buying brain

As research becomes more sophisticated in its knowledge of the inner workings of the brain, marketing and sales groups try to formulate newer, more effective ways to sell to us. They appeal to our emotions. They realize that consumers buy on emotion.

In his book, The Buying Brain (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), A.K. Pradeep explores how consumers feel about brands. He found that if customers relate any of the following benefits to the use of a certain brand, we’re likely to buy:

  • Promoting physical beauty

  • Representing intellectual accomplishment

  • Being in the know technically and intellectually

  • Achieving career and financial success

  • Providing access to power and resources

  • Being exclusive and elite

  • Supporting uniqueness of personality

In addition, studies show that customers provide themselves with rational reasons to hide the emotional ones. Add this subconscious motivation to the recommendations, critiques, and opinions of social media users and you’ve got a complicated stew of buying motivations.

For customers to connect emotionally to your product, you need to provide multisensory experiences, whether those experiences are in a store or online. In a store, you may sell products by encouraging customers to interact with a product. A store can structure these interactions so they’re informative and entertaining.

Research has shown that buyers who pick up physical items are more likely to buy them than those who just look at them.

Because buying online is a different experience, how can your sales team translate the multisensory experience that customers find in a store? Here are a few ways you can translate the power of multisensory experiences to a website or other online channel where you conduct sales:

  • On your website, make sure you include content in a variety of formats. You should have video, audio, and anything else that stimulates the buyer’s curiosity for novel things. Of course, you can’t engage all the same senses online and off, but you can make sure to vary the applicable ones.

  • Your sales approach should always set out to educate and entertain. A majority of sales pitches can be mind-numbing. That’s one reason why gamification is gaining favor online. Buyers’ expectations are raised by their online experiences. They know that they enjoy themselves online and they want the brand to show them the same kind of experience no matter what type of product it is.

  • Offer customers ways to pick up or experience your product. You can create a user experience for the customer if it’s software or app driven. You can let them have a trial of the product. If it’s a hard good, you could send a sample or let the customer use a coupon to sample it from a local store.

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