How to offer better customer service to your customers using Social CRM

Julio Fernández-Sanguino

29 June 2015

Several studies have shown that the principal factor for customer loyalty to a brand is good service. This fact explains the great strategic importance that the quality of service and customer care has had in most businesses in recent decades; assuming huge investments and large budgetary allocations.

However, these decisions have often been aimed at the achievement of widespread improved quality metrics, and have hardly achieved customer service adapted to the needs of each client beyond certain segmentations based on levels of consumption

The eternal search for improved customer care indicators must go beyond the fact that everyone likes to receive good service. From the perspective of consumer psychology, it should be understood that the principle of autonomy (Article in Spanish) pushes humans to make choices based primarily on their own safety and on a sense of control of the situation. Thus, to the extent that a brand is able to adapt to customer needs and respect their determinations, this will become a much more comfortable relationship if the customer gets the sense that it is not the brand that imposes the rules, but rather, someone close to him that he respects, listens to, and who provides a familial connection.

It is at this point that the concept of “good service for our customers” should become “a service desired by every customer.”

On several occasions, we have discussed the advantages of personalization when presenting product offers or rewards (Article in Spanish) – it will enable us to have a greater breadth of knowledge about the customer, creating the possibility for us to provide even more personalized services, and to obtain further information that goes beyond their history of consumption or previous service interactions.

Thus, by incorporating complete social and behavioral information; web browsing habits; and/or real-time analytics of their processes within traditional CRM, we can gain extremely useful information that will allow us to develop not just a personalized approach, but even more so, a more efficient one with an omni-channel approach (Article in Spanish).

It is therefore important to understand the concept of Social CRM (Article in Spanish), considering that it goes far beyond including a Twitter profile or the number of followers a user has.

How can we use social CRM to improve customer service?

On the one hand, from within the inherent advantages of SCRM, a greater awareness of the customer on a personal level arises, and spreads across the entire spectrum of the B2C relationship:

First of all, this presents an opportunity to create links: that is, to have on hand certain customer habits or tastes that will allow any brand employee (agent, operator, Community Manager, etc.) to have knowledge that can be leveraged, in order to bring about contact that is much closer and adapted to their personal profiles or interests; and even consulting similar conversations. In such cases, it is always important however, to have clear line of user privacy and to avoid being intimidating.

Much richer segmentation: segmentation of customers can go beyond the usual transactional history, and be performed based on numerous other factors. A greater effort to enhance customer care is no longer based solely on consumption, but rather, on factors such as their potential value or, of course, the influence that they can have on social networks.

More efficient customer service: the ability to trace and track everything that has happened on any channel will enable more efficient solutions and easy access to any historic of inquiries or issues. This can be taken a step further, by incorporating the ability to access subsequent interactions outside of contact with the brand.

Offer more personalized solutions: great depth of knowledge about the customer also creates the possibility of offering more adequate solutions, better suited to the demands made.

Greater ability to cross-sell: Much in the same way, the customer needs identified through the social information available will not be conclusive if we limit ourselves to a mere analysis of their consumption history. Provided it is done non-intrusively, an offer of a product that the customer needs will normally be regarded positively, thus, its obvious commercial advantage must be highlighted to increase their satisfaction.

In addition to these advantages related to customer knowledge, all the possibilities related to Social CRM that Big Data analytical systems typically incorporate should be included, and likewise, they will allow us to take a bigger step forward in terms of customer service:

  • Making the customer service an integrated experience throughout the customer journey: for a true omni-channel service, it is critical that the barriers between service channels, the service and the purchase disappear, thus forcing the brand to create an interference (either proactive or reactive) right at the moment when the customer needs it and on the channel where it is located. The analytics associated to social CRM will enable the traceability of any client processes on any channel; this makes it possible for companies to provide immediate solutions to the customer, without having them explain what stage of a purchase or process they are on, thus increasing satisfaction and reducing operating costs.
  • More information for the customer: the integration with all channels will enable the implementation of solutions that can be provided to customer queries or to the status of any open issue.
  • A unique, simple and continuous identification on all channels: one of the cornerstones of Social CRM is the identification by a common indicator for all channels, which is easily replicable through procedures such as Single sign-on – this can be incorporated on any digital or physical (via mobile technology) service channel. Taking advantage of these features, the customer will not only benefit from the constant enrichment of information, but it will also make it easier to identify the customer or guarantee a true omni-channel approach, thanks to the possibilities that arise from continuous contact.

All these practices are, to a greater or lesser extent, a reality that many of us are benefiting from, as customers, and they are made possible as a result of various solutions available at modest costs for any company. The key to the success of the model, however, will always depend on the ability to perform a proper analytical management of all the information generated.