Utilizing social media is essential for any business that wants to stay ahead of disruption Source Shutterstock.com

The rise of social CRM and why your business needs it

THE IMPORTANCE of social media in customer relationship management (social CRM) is not something to be underestimated.

Although it can be hard sometimes to separate hype from value on social media, providing consistent customer support and having a comprehensive media strategy are absolute musts for businesses.

Up until recently, a customer’s social media activity was treated as personal mediums of communication; it hasn’t been trackable, measurable, plannable or improvable.

But with social CRM, all that has changed.

Why does social CRM matter?

Social CRM doesn’t ask you to unlearn everything you know about customer experience, you simply need to integrate it into your already established system.

This incorporation is never too soon, as the experts over at WebsiteBuilder.org.uk reveal in recent research on the rise of “social media customer care”. According to their study, 54 percent of millennials (22-34) and 52 percent of baby boomers (52-74) say they have previously abandoned a brand because of poor customer service.

There seems to be little point in avoiding using social CRM, as an estimated 2.4 billion people use social media, with a projected growth of 3.2 billion by 2021. The APAC region has the world’s highest social media penetration rate. Platforms such as QQ, WeChat and Qzone top the most used charts, with over 600 million active users.

Worldwide, Facebook still dominates the social media landscape, and Facebook Messenger has collected 1.2 billion downloads since the stand-alone app launched in 2014.

One third of all customer complaints online are ignored Source: WebsiteBuilder.org.uk

So why get involved?

Consumers are heavily utilizing social media as platforms to complain, compliment and suggest improvements to brands; WebsiteBuilder.org.uk’s data says 90 percent of social media users have used social media to communicate with a brand.

Likewise, 63 percent of users expect companies to offer customer service (CS) on social media platforms.

Meanwhile, some 34.5 percent of users say they prefer social media for customer care over any other channels, and one in four say they have made complaints to companies via social media.

One in 4 social media users in the UK used twitter to complain in 2015 Source: Websitebuilder.org

Social media is a fast, convenient and most importantly, public platform, that works in real time. About 81 percent of companies polled in the study have used social media within customer experience management. This eliminates the wasted time of passing emails to correct departments and receiving unnerving computer generated responses.

But don’t assume it’s a one-way street, social media CRM also works to benefit the enterprise.

Brand benefits

By employing a social CRM system or strategy, brands can quickly respond to complaints, which in turn increases customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent. About 65 percent of users say they would stay loyal to a brand if the company makes the effort to reach out to them on social media.

Social CRM will help businesses gain new customers, as 71 percent of consumers who received positive social customer care experience are likely to recommend the brand to others.

People are 30 percent more likely to recommend a brand when they get a response Source: websitebuilder.org

How different platforms can be used

Twitter and Facebook are 48 percent more accurate at delivering responses than email, and 44 percent faster as well. These two platforms are the most popular among users, with an estimated 79 percent of adult netizens on Facebook, while 80 percent of customer service requests come in from Twitter.

Facebook is the most used social media platform for customer care. Source: WebsiteBuilder.org.uk

For brands to reap the most benefit from these platforms, they must avoid customer churn and ensure they address all queries and complaints, or at least as many as they possibly can.

Unfortunately, consumer use of artificial technology has not yet been implemented in Twitter and Facebook, although both use sophisticated algorithms. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the personalized responses coming from actual humans on brand websites are what makes all the difference to customer satisfaction.

According to WebsiteBuilder.org.uk, the current overall response rate on Twitter is 40.6 percent and on Facebook slightly higher at 59.4 percent. Of course, the platforms aren’t the ones doing the leg work, as this has to come from the brand.

80 percent of customer service requests come from Twitter. Source: WebsiteBuilder.org.uk

Risks and challenges

Good social media customer care can improve customer satisfaction rate by 26.6 percent. Yet, ensuring you know what good social media customer care is, is the first hurdle.

Try to respond to as quickly as possible. About 11 percent of consumers will expect a response straight away, but the average time stands at five hours. Poor response time and unanswered questions can lead to an increase of customer churn and decrease in revenue.

24 precent of customers said the most important aspect is first contant resolution Source: websitebuilder.org

However, integrating a strong and dedicated social media CRM system could see an 81 percent increase in annual revenue from customer referrals. It will also holt customer churn, as companies with the best social customer care experience could see 92 percent customer retention.

By using social CRM, you can track social interaction with customer and deliver faster, more complete resolutions, and that makes for happy customers who stick around and grow your revenue.