Many brands provide options for customer support on social media. While some companies fall back on traditional customer care departments or call centers, in today’s digital, “customer experience first” world, successful brands realize that consumers expect personalized engagement. Customers choose social media in order to avoid traditional calls or chats. What does that mean for developing social strategies that fulfill customer service needs and also provide a differentiated experience? A unique approach is to think about social care not as a single-fix moment, but more as a relationship-building opportunity. This requires redefining the social care model and scope to not only focus on the number and speed of resolutions, but also engagement, curation, community management, and lead gen.
A strategic way to frame this is to deliver the social experience as a service, where key products extend the connection with customers. With social there is the opportunity to not just hang up and move on, but create additional touch points to build brand equity.
Taking social care to social customer relationship management (CRM) is all about extending the connection to the customer. Consider these four initial areas of focus:
Social Support: Think Beyond Customer Frustration and Focus on Building Fandom
As brands establish their response service, they often fall prey to: 1. endless worry about social as a sounding board for complaints or attacks, and 2.looking at social as just volume, where the only goal is removing issues from the social sphere. Those who are new to social forget that it’s also the key amplifier for great experiences. A more progressive, CRM-focused way to approach social support is to move the customer from frustration to fandom. Social has the ability to capture a full end-to-end story: Identify and contextualize a customer problem, solve her issue in a way that flips her opinion, amplify that sentiment to change overall perception, then remember and reward your ambassadors. Focus on this approach to build fans and stop worrying about frustrations.
Engagement: Customer Activation for Specific Business Objectives
Failing to reinforce positive moments of engagement and capture those customers as ambassadors presents a missed opportunity, particularly when engaging with influencers. And reinforcement is not just about sending mass reminders or follow-up messages—that’s a compliance process mentality. Social CRM engagement should be purposeful, with the intent to deliver on an experience that activates the customer toward a specific goal. For example, directing existing fans to loyalty and referral programs is tailored for immediate lift from social. Community management and targeting specific content campaigns to already engaged consumers are excellent ways to boost marketing tactics.
Awareness: Connected and Relevant Social Content
Social ads and offers from brands abound. With a social CRM approach, developing awareness is centered on content relevant to the moment that engages customers and results in a continual top of mind presence. Content should always be organic to consumers; however, getting this content specifically into the hands of your fans is critical for fostering and amplifying a message with a greater engagement rate. This is why #holidays and internet days of significance do so well for smart brands.
Intelligence: Come Full Circle with Key Voice of Customer Insights
Last, social CRM is all about knowing your customer. At the support level, you will need to stay on top of productivity metrics, response speeds, and trending issues on social. The next step in evolving your customer insights is determining what drives a customer to share and connect on social. How do you track and measure converting folks into fans? Also, how is content connecting the brand and activating customers?
As brands continue to evolve their approach to engaging customers on social, it will be critical for companies to look at social as an experience that extends the customer connection. Tying support, engagement, awareness, and intelligence is a good starting point to enable social as a customer relationship management program.
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Ken Madrigal is Verizon's digital and social strategy lead