3 Top Benefits of Incorporating Social Networking in Your Service Strategy

In today’s consumer-dominated market, customer is king. One of the top priorities of management everywhere is keeping customers satisfied in the most cost-effective manner. Traditional channels of customer service, via phones or face-to-face interactions, are still popular with consumers. But, the power and advantages of social media go beyond simple conflict resolution. The nature of customer interactions and activities on the social medium can act as a strong facilitator for proactive customer relationship management. In such an evolving market, it has become mandatory to explore the avenues of social media to build a strong foundation for customer relationship management.

According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, in India, people are twice as likely to use social media for customer service as consumers in any other part of the world.

The importance of going social in customer service
Today, it’s not just about the increasing number of people on social networks anymore, but what these people are talking about. Customers have opinions and social networks are a popular platform for self-expression. Companies have to be aware of what people are saying about them, listen, respond and control online mentions about their brand to the best of their ability. 

The Benefits of Social Customer Service
Social CRM facilitates clear visibility by automatically capturing social comments relating to your products and competitors. It also collates details to generate actionable intelligence and optimize relationships. 

Social customer portals
A couple of the best characteristics of social mediums are the convenience and swiftness it offers. As opposed to going through long IVR menus or meeting an agent face-to-face, customers can post queries much quicker on a social platform, especially because of increased mobile integration. This leads to a much more engaged customer. Managers can use this to their benefit by leveraging a highly engaged customer as a brand ambassador - customer endorsements act as great catalysts for brands.
Connecting through multiple channels
The online world has its own set of norms. Customers are not just limited to service enquiries anymore. They interact through blogs, videos, instant chat, posts, tweets and much more. As consumers build their own virtual environments and networks, there is no end to how creative one can get with their consumer interactions today. One popular example of this is the Old Spice Man campaign which featured custom-made video responses to customer comments and queries. This viral campaign, which utilised several channels such as Youtube and Twitter, is one of the most popular social campaign today and lead to an increase of 107% in the sales of Old Spice body wash!

Monitoring perceptions
Furthermore, here is a medium which finally gives marketing managers the ability to grab a problem by the horns. By using social CRM diligently and efficiently, managers can stay aware of their brand’s mentions in real-time and take measures before negative publicity gets out of control. By quickly capturing and assigning a tweet, comment or conversation to the customer services team, they can ensure a better customer perception of their brand.

How to improve customer service and increase popularity
As customer service requires attributes like politeness, timeliness and efficient conflict resolution, businesses must provide a human face to their 'social' customer service. The social media approach also needs to be proactive – an organization needs to be active on their social media pages. To ensure popularity:
  • Respond quickly to queries, comments and complaints.
  • Give due importance to feedback and suggestions.
  • Managers need to listen to the employees directly dealing with customers - they hold the most valuable customer insights. These should be used in creating the overall strategy and policies for social media and customer service.

Ensuring success with an effective social CRM

Well informed customer care agents
CRM can equip the employees or agents directly dealing with customers by displaying essential information to handle customer queries and comments. A holistic view of each person an employee interacts with through a CRM solution will provide real-time information like –
  • Is the person a high value customer
  • Open/ closed activities
  • Preferred platform for communication
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Demographics such as age and occupation
This customer information and other details can help agents in responding to the customer and also building a one-on-one relationship. CRM has the ability to take customer services from simple conflict resolution to building meaningful customer relations.

Integration across platforms
The multi-channel nature of social media can make providing customer service all the more daunting. CRM applications offer managers with an organizational platform to integrate all platforms, all channels and all pages. These ensure that one never misses out on any tweet or like or comment. Furthermore, CRM software offer tracking solutions which ensure that managers are aware of their brand mentions and consumer’s online brand related activities, at all times and in real time.

Unique Customer Insights
Customer interactions and presence on social networks offers bundles of customer information that may otherwise require cumbersome and expensive market research. Data mining software can go through this vast information to help businesses understand who their clients are, what opinions they hold and where they air these opinions. Such information is highly valuable in building strategies for deeper and more meaningful customer relations.

At the end of the day, businesses everywhere are becoming more aware of their customers. It is pertinent to establish seamless interactions with clients and build strong customer relations. Customer service on social media websites offers a cost-efficient and highly effective way to do this. With CRM solutions to back this up, businesses can build holistic strategies, seamlessly integrating their social media marketing, customer service, product/ service development and other marketing platforms. 

Neha Kapoor