Every startup has growth on its mind – it is, after all, an industry where only the fittest survive. What better way for startups to ensure growth and traction than to engage and interact directly with their customer base? It is this very engagement and analysis of incoming data that can help new businesses target and segregate leads, strategize better, and retain existing customers. This is exactly where Social CRM excels.
Social CRM is the leaner and meaner big brother of CRM, empowered by social platforms and technologies online that offer new improved ways of customer relationship management and data compilation. It puts a new spin on customer relationship management and brings the focus on using social platforms to enhance customer engagement using the channels of your choice, whether by text, call, mail, or social media. Social CRM streamlines data from multiple channels and points of contact to provide businesses with an eagle eye’s view and 360-degree insights for optimum outcomes.
Business data is crucial for decision making and clever startups know and understand this, employing long-term tactics, technologies, and practices that track, monitor, and manage customer interactions. Thus, Social CRM has displayed its potential in large organisations in aspects beyond marketing, sales, and customer requirements, and startups are encouraged to invest in them wholeheartedly.
In their nascent stages, startups tend to keep their focus on maintaining low costs and having manageable operations to enable smoother functioning and greater control over all their processes. However, startups need to move beyond isolated projects to integrated programmes using a Social CRM strategy to fully exploit the power of social media. Startups need to understand the potential of customer relationship management and social media and start using the best of both these worlds as they form a valuable asset.
One of the simplest ways to increase customer engagement and develop loyalty towards a startup is by setting up a Facebook page. Startups can engage in conversations with their potential customers and receive quick feedback on their products and services from them. A Facebook page works just like a shop window front and it is essential that businesses do not make customers wait. Startups need to keep their customers informed about their latest products, innovations, and trends using specialised marketing through targeted banner ads, widgets, online games, mobile applications, and polls. They need to create incentives for customers and strive to build a community of loyal followers.
According to Gartner’s Research Director Claudio Marcus, “CRM is not part of a business strategy; CRM is the business strategy.” There are plenty of benchmark studies that have shown that there are immense advantages when Social CRM applications are implemented. Revenue increases up to 41 percent per salesperson. It has been observed that there is 300 percent lead conversion rate, 27 percent more customer retention, and shorter sales cycles, which enable sales to be finished more swiftly as well as increased profit margins.
Let’s take a look at how Social CRM can help your startup:
The first and biggest benefit of Social CRM is its efficiency in handling data, whether incoming or outgoing. Your brand’s channels and its daily interactions are recorded and streamlined across multiple channels and touch-points, keeping businesses on top of every situation. With Social CRM in place, your customer-facing staff will always have an overview with references and context to saved data, interactions, statistics, and customer history.
Social CRM provides a framework for interaction with customers and also gives actionable data in return for greater insight to achieve maximum traffic. As a business, it’s crucial to be proactive and keep up with the latest trends and happenings. Having a Social CRM dashboard in place enables the tracking of performance indicators, analytics, and reports. These metrics are a veritable mine of information and aid in identifying opportunities and grasping changing perceptions, which businesses can proactively respond to. Customer tracking enables deep insights into consumer behaviour and their preferences and businesses can shape and reshape their current offerings accordingly.
Using Social CRM, customer service processes such as communication tracking, smooth handover to other departments, billing, automatic follow-ups, interactions, handling enquires, and nurturing not only becomes easier and faster but also automatic and analytics-based. Detecting faulty processes is much easier with report generation and interactive dashboards. About 79 percent of Salesforce customers have reported improved customer service and 63 percent increased customer retention, testifying the fact that Social CRM delivers real commercial benefits.
Customer service is an integral part of any business. Social CRM enhances interaction with customers on all platforms and more importantly, enables personalized responses. With prior knowledge of customer preferences and communication, tailor-made interactions and relevant suggestions can be provided with ease. Social CRM requires that businesses learn new ways to adjust as well as ‘listen’ to their customers, creating tailor-made communication and generating a genuinely personalized experience for them, thereby maximising profits. Businesses cannot afford to overlook or neglect the voice of the customer anymore.
In fact, the customer is the focal point, the one who is entitled and empowered. It is all about the customer experience.
Engaging your customers and brand advocates online can increase your brand loyalty significantly. We are seeing brands personalizing themselves to engage with customers and keep them hooked. With Social CRM, brands can better manage grievances of their customers as well. What would otherwise be a boring customer service task becomes a wonderful customer engagement opportunity via Social CRM. Telecoms giant BT says that 40 percent of their feedback from customers comes on Twitter. What this means is that a customer service agent dealing directly with a customer on Twitter is actually engaging in a personal interaction with a larger audience.
It is easy and logical for customers to want to share their service experience socially. This means that the way the interaction is handled can directly impact the business’s sentiment and become an important part of its identity. It can also mobilize others’ actions toward the products or services offered by it.
With the surge of social media, customers tend to have high expectations and are always looking for real-time solutions for their problems. They expect to be able to transition easily between channels of communication and expect a prompt response. If the business can remember them, then nothing like it! Mobile apps are a quintessential part of Social CRM software that is made available on all major platforms. This extends support to existing as well as potential customers instantly, no matter where.
In a nutshell, Social CRM can help startups harness the power of predictive insights, vital data management, analysis into key business areas such as sales, vendor relationships, marketing, customer engagement, employees and talent management, and training, thereby contributing to the overall business growth of any startup.
The customer is today more vocal than ever. Businesses must engage and collaborate with them to create better customer experiences, making it a win-win for both parties. Social CRM is the next frontier in customer relationship engagement – it is the way forward and the next logical step for startups. It can deliver faster, more complete resolutions to customer service cases from across the whole business, leading to satisfied customers and successful businesses.
Sachin Karweer is the Business Head at digital marketing agency HGS Interactive.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)