10 Best Practices for Social CRM Software Implementation
Advancements in technology have led to the explosion of social media, and as an extension, a paradigm shift in how businesses interact with their customers. Unlike in traditional business setting where customers lined to get services from the business, nowadays businesses are the ones making efforts to reach customers.
In this digital era, most people are spending a lot of in numerous social platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, among others. The problem that comes about is that tactics, strategies, and opinions associated with traditional CRM were never designed to integrate with this social aspect of customers. Issues like participation and transparency were not things which concerned the business world. However, the entry of social media will require businesses to change the way they handle their communication with both customers and prospects.
This is particularly important for sectors that require active customer support such as the high tech, consumer goods and retail sectors. In modern times, people like doing business with people and companies they can trust and relate to. Those who can listen to their concerns and sentiments, and communicate with them through the social media channels they use.
For this reason, companies will need to integrate social media strategy into their CRM initiatives, which can help to align technology, people, and processes with key business objectives. This is where social CRM (SCRM) comes in. An effective SCRM solution can help companies to maximize the value of customer relationships and increase profitability.
However, the problem with many companies is that they don’t know how to adapt and evolve to satisfy the demands and requirements of these new social customers. Statistics have shown that many organizations still do not understand the benefit of integrating social media with CRM. Unlike traditional CRM, which focuses more on managing customer-related information, social CRM is an end-to-end solution that enables companies to engage customers in many diverse aspects, from customer service, sales and marketing, to product development.
Social CRM is mainly a technology-based system that enables businesses to monitor and respond to social media conversations about the business or brand. Hence, it can be considered to be some kind of a reactive tool for collecting information and brand management. In general, integrating social networking technology into CRM can help to: maximize the value of customer interactions; optimize customer experiences; increase customer loyalty; improve brand presence; reduce operational costs; and build competitive advantage.
A comprehensive SCRM solution should be built around innovative technology that provides social media tools and strategies to be used for customer relationship management. On top of that, it needs to be implemented in a way that optimizes the effective use of the solution. This article will highlight the best practices in the development, implementation, and utilization of SCRM software, which companies can follow to maximize the value of customer relationships, increase sales and improve their bottom line.
Best Practices for Social CRM Software Implementation
The use of social tools and techniques in CRM systems can provide numerous benefits for organizations. Social CRM can enable you to create and distribute content concerning the products and services that you offer, through traditional channels and over the internet. However, this is only possible if and when organizations follow implementation practices that have been tried and tested.
Highlighted below are a few recommended practices when building, implementing and using your social CRM system.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 1 - Aligning Objectives
Organizations should ensure that the SCRM system they want to implement does not conflict organizational culture, values, and objectives but that it reinforces and aligns with them. Hence, organizations should examine processes that will be affected by the system so as to determine the specific elements and issues that the system should address to avoid any conflict.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 2 - Invest in IT infrastructure
To ensure that the SCRM system can produce beneficial results, the company should invest heavily in their IT infrastructure including analytical, data scraping, and data management tools. This can make it easy to fetch information from websites, blogs, social networks, which can be stored in a centralized database for easy access and analysis. The system should also have a reporting dashboard to facilitate the management and monitoring of various processes on a single platform.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 3 - Integrate SCRM with customer care
Having a customer service department that maintains active engagement on social networks is one of the best practices in ensuring the success of a social CRM solution. Hence, organizations should empower their customer support staff with the tools and facilities they require to maintain customer interaction.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 4 - Perform analysis on client feedback
The above should be followed by conducting analysis of feedback and comments made about the company by stakeholders and clients. This can help companies to understand online conversations that impact the organization, including public sentiment about the quality of their services, latest product releases or new marketing campaigns.
Insights obtained from such analysis as customer behavior trends can be acted upon to drive product innovation and improve brand messaging. However, the company should incorporate smart technologies to capture negative sentiments so the concerned parties can be contacted immediately to solve any problem they may have encountered.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 5 - Develop key performance metrics and reporting tools
An integral process in the implementation and use of SCRM software is developing key performance metrics and standards so as to track the performance of the software in relation to set objectives. Apart from traditional CRM metrics, companies have to create social metrics which take into account customer sentiment as week as the impact and value obtained from the use of the software.
Additionally, companies should develop reporting tools that can help to track performance and to monitor social metrics from a single platform. They should do this in partnership with leading innovators in social media technology in order to utilize cutting-edge reporting systems, which can provide insights form the entire range of customer contact points. This can strengthen the connection between social media and organizational objectives while enabling improvements meant to increase the efficiency of the SCRM system.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 6 - Integrate the entire customer and product lifecycle
During the initial stages, companies should ensure that the SCRM solution they want to implement integrates the entire customer and product lifecycle to improve customer satisfaction and to positively promote its brand. This means that the solution should be able to address all aspects of an organization, including social media monitoring, reporting, client engagement, and analytics.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 7 - Not replace but rather complement traditional CRM
Your social CRM solution should not be a replacement for traditional CRM tools and strategies. On the contrary, it should be seen as a way of engaging Internet‐based communities provide a new perspective to customer-business relations. This requires support by developing stable IT infrastructure such as a centralized customer database, which can help in monitoring and coordinating customer-related processes including sales and marketing.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 8 - Promote transparency and participation
In this digital world, companies that embrace conversations with customers by engaging with them via modern social tools and platform are more likely to command respect than those which don’t. Some companies might ignore that kind of approach because it was envisioned with traditional CRM, but it will be inevitable to follow suit as the world becomes more and more digitalized. Hence, any social CRM solution should promote transparency and meaningful conversations among all stakeholders as this can enhance the success and impact of the software.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 9 - Reach out to your loyal customers
As time goes by, social networks are becoming more extensive and complex. As such, it is not effective to target the general public with the social CRM solution. The best practice is to focus your efforts on monitoring your most loyal customers to see which social tools and networks they are using, what they use them for, and what topics and issues they are interested in. You can then leverage any actionable insight to promote your brand and determine how best to interact with potential customers and deepen your relationship with existing ones. You can also contact influential bloggers who can help you to build presence in various social platforms so you can reach new customers.
Social CRM Software Best Practices 10 - Don’t rush the implementation process
Developing and implementing a successful social CRM solution is not a one-off assignment, and thus should not be done in haste. Introducing SCRM without clearly defined strategies and goals for both the company and the customer can lead to failure of the solution. You will need to first understand how social networks work as well as the tools and techniques that fit your organizational culture and the people you wish to engage. By doing this, you increase the chances of turning clicks into conversations, which can win you loyal clients.
More and more businesses are recognizing the need to develop and maintain some form of social relationship with their customers. Hence, they are leveraging social CRM to gather insights, which if transformed into business strategy can help to optimize product marketing, customer support, competitive intelligence and overall business innovation. Businesses can follow the best practices highlighted above when implementing social CRM solutions in order to maximize the impact and successes of the solution.