The Importance of Social Customer Service for Social CRM - dummies

The Importance of Social Customer Service for Social CRM

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

It stands to reason that if customer service is critical to the health of a company, for Social CRM, social customer service is even more crucial. Some data supports that. A Booz & Company and Buddy Media study found the following:

  • 81 percent of respondents say that they use social media for customer insights.

  • 54 percent say that investing in relationships with consumers is more important to their brands than mass reach.

From several of these statistics, you might conclude that the average company really gets social CRM. They understand that they can reach customers on social platforms, they dig for customer insights, and they invest in and value customer relationships. But this just isn’t the case.

Amid the business landscape, many companies pay lip service to these ideas but don’t really employ the tools and tactics they could. To avoid this problem, consider the following best practices as your business incorporates social media into its customer service:

  • Know your business goals before you develop your social customer service tactics. Sounds logical right? But, many companies rush headlong onto social platforms without understanding what their goals are. This is a real waste of resources. For example, if you don’t have consistent messaging between Facebook and Twitter, you’ll confuse your customers, and they will leave.

  • Understand that you can’t fake customer relationships. The novelist Jean Giraudoux is credited with the famous quote, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.” Joking aside, we all know that one of the hallmarks of social media is authenticity. Now that a customer can tell everyone on Facebook that your customer service is a joke, feigning sincerity is out the window.

  • Your business must constantly monitor the web, because you must be alert to potential problems. Plan to check in on your social platforms much more often than once a week. If you don’t assign one or more employees to constantly monitor your social media accounts, you’re penny-wise and pound-foolish. If you’re the last to know about some terrible problem, it might be too late to save your reputation.

  • To provide customers with the content they need, learning where your customers consume information, read reviews, and follow news. This follows the old adage, “fish where the fish are.” You can’t expect to change your customers’ long-established online habits. If they communicate on Twitter, you aren’t going to get them to come to your website’s newsroom to read boring press releases.

  • To know what your customer wants, your research and communication must be ongoing. It’s not a one-time thing. Social media takes time. When you add it as a layer to your CRM, you’ll need to take the time to make the data make sense. Don’t be frustrated that you don’t immediately know how to value it.

Also, just in case you’re still not convinced that customers really value customer service, the 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer found that consumers say they’d spend 21 percent more with companies that offer great customer service.

The American Express survey also found that customers use social media for customer service because they want the following:

  • To receive an actual response from a company.

  • To praise the company for a positive experience.

  • To share information about their service experience with more people.

  • To vent frustration about their experience.

  • To ask other users how they could have gotten better service. Customers want to pay you more, if you’ll just treat them right!