CRM tools once revolutionized business, especially from a customer support perspective. Instead of gathering the same information each time a customer or prospect contacted a business, the company could track that relationship over time and access the records whenever they were needed.
By nature, social media generates much more data. When customers and prospects started taking to Twitter and Facebook to talk (positively or negatively) about the brands they use, as well as to solicit help and information from them, it quickly became clear that change was once again needed. Traditional CRM solutions didn’t allow for easily implementing that social data.
Now the name of the game is social CRM. Using these solutions, businesses can input the same data that they could with traditional CRM tools, but they can add social data as well.
Regardless of the size or nature of your business, it’s virtually guaranteed that your customers and prospects are using social media. They’re socializing with each other, yes, but they’re also gathering information so that they might make informed purchases, as well. They’re asking questions, seeking help, and sharing brand experiences.
Making a claim for dedicated social customer service accounts
When you use social CRM solutions, you’re able to monitor the conversations happening around you brand. You can track keywords and phrases so that you can find customers and prospects who don’t even know they’re looking for your help (those who may not have mentioned you directly, but are talking about your products or a need for them). The more completely you use these tools, the more data you will generate.
But what do you do with it?
Businesses can use this social data to make decisions about customer service initiatives, specifically whether it’s worth creating social accounts that are dedicated to such endeavors. Companies like Dell, Zappos, Wells Fargo, and a growing list of others are already using dedicated accounts for customer service. In fact, a recent infographic from Bluewolf notes that over the next year, social customer service (through mediums such as web, social, and chat) is expected to grow by 53%. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need to be a big business to make social customer care work for you. If you recognize the opportunity, you simply need to know how to present the social data.
The benefits of dedicated customer care accounts
Before we get to how you should present that data, let’s talk for a moment about the why. Presenting any kind of data is no good unless you have a clear understanding of why it’s important. We all want to shine the most positive light on our businesses through strong branding strategies. At the same time, we know that social media plays a large part in how our customers and prospects view us. Using a single social account can sometimes water down our branding efforts because we’re trying to do too much in too small a space.
Some degree of consistency is good, and your social followers appreciate it. If you’re trying to curate content, establish yourself as a thought leader, provide your own useful information, interact with your followers, and take care of customer service all from the same account, your efforts could be spread awfully thin. Customers would rather take to social media than call an 800-number, so providing social customer care can be a fairly large undertaking, depending on the size of your business. The larger you are, the more likely it is that important messages will get lost in the shuffle. Creating a dedicated service account allows a core team of representatives to respond to customer service queries without taking time or resources away from other branding efforts.
Presenting the data
The first step is monitoring so that you can collect the data you need to make a case for providing social customer care. Once you’ve gathered and processed that data, you have to present it to those executives who might still be questioning social’s value.
First, it’s important to make it clear that employing social channels for customer service won’t be a replacement for initiatives that are already in place. Being able to talk to a real, live person is still important to customers when the issue might not be easily or as quickly resolved over social media.
Instead, present your data in such a way that you make it clear how social customer care will enhance your strategy. Show how a social component will fit into the whole. Here it is important to not only present data you’ve acquired through your own monitoring and research efforts, but also those statistics about customer service in general that highlight your findings.
Key information to present:
- Number of customers sought assistance via social channels
- Also include the total number who were helped (including those you found through keyword and phrase monitoring with social CRM solutions)
- Cost analysis
- How do the costs of social CRM solutions, premium social tools, and time (current team vs. hiring new employees included) factor into your budget?
- Social ROI – can you include projections that would indicate that implementing a social component to your customer service strategy will increase your social ROI and make it worth your time and monetary investments?
- Current statistics regarding sentiment, use, and projections for traditional and social customer service
- How do your numbers match up?
- Best practices
- How will achieving them affect your bottom line?
Remember this: when you’re presenting any kind of data, the top question on any decision-maker’s mind is how it’s going to affect the bottom line, so your presentation should ultimately answer that question. Present the data that backs up your case, and provide a few alternatives as to how social customer care might be implemented in the most cost-efficient, customer-friendly way.
Let the numbers speak for themselves: Analyze the data, but don’t overanalyze the data. Show the numbers and let their impact resonate. Don’t provide a lot of extra, potentially frivolous information unless it pertains to the numbers and your company.
Caring for the customer also means being a resource. Use social media to humanize your brand and educate your followers on issues affecting them and your industry. Be an authentic voice. Even if customers don’t have questions, that social interaction can do wonders for customer loyalty. Don’t forget to show that when you present the data!
An effective customer service data presentation
Have a look at this SlideShare presentation. There are oodles of customer service statistics for you to use to bolster your case to your own company, but the presentation itself is effective, as well. It uses a simple design, only the essential words, and it lets the numbers speak for themselves. Furthermore, it’s organized in such a way that it establishes a natural flow and progression.
Do you use social for customer service? How are you measuring data and using analytics to prove its worth to your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
photo credit: mjayliebs