Today, the success of your business depends on how well you connect with your customers. It’s a crowded marketplace with a lot of competition, and your products or services are unlikely to be so unique that you can compete on what you offer alone. That’s why you need to be communicating social signals with your customers.
A great customer relationship management (CRM) collects all the data you need to stand out in your industry by understanding your customers: what makes them happy, what ticks them off, what would make their lives easier.
To access your customer’s social media and demographic data, all you need is a primary email address. Your CRM will gather information from multiple social media channels and attach pertinent public information to each customer records. From there, you can find commonalities between customer groups, and learn everything you need to offer the kind of stellar customer service that builds trust – and sales.
How Does CRM Work?
Customers volunteer email addresses in exchange for valuable resources. You may tempt them with free premium content, ask them to sign up for your mailing list or to receive special offers, or perhaps to join a contest and win a prize.
A full-featured CRM crawls social media sites to pull in links to all the major sites. Customers share all kinds of info about their lives, including marital status, age, birthday, relatives, location, education, and much more. With just an email address, you can access everything they share with the public. And you can make segmented lists with other people who share the characteristics you’re looking for.
Opt-in isn’t the only way to add information to a CRM. Your own sales, marketing and customer service people can enrich your knowledge by adding notes and insight from each contact.
One of the most valuable bits of information your front-line people can gather is pain points. What do customers complain about? Why are they hesitating before buying? What questions do they ask when making buying decisions?
To get the most from your CRM, employees in every customer-facing department need training. If they understand the keywords and types of notes that make for valuable information, their input will help you market, refine business processes, and make better decisions.
The Value of Social Signals
Consumers are all to happy to discuss likes, dislikes, and needs on social media. If you listen in, you’ll find out tidbits of useful information like where they vacation, what TV shows and movies they enjoy, and whether they are graduating, changing jobs, participating in a charity event, or adopting a new pet.
Imagine the impact you can have if you discover many of your local customers plan to participate in a race for charity. You can make a big donation, or be on hand with branded towels soaked in ice water at the halfway mark. It’s a great way to get involved with the community, support a cause you (and your customers) believe in, and get lots of publicity.
Other social signals can help inform you about what your customers would most likely want in a giveaway and what kind of content they respond to best.
You may even use social signals to develop your future products and services. When Canva wanted to expand its platform for business use, they took to Facebook and polled customers for detailed answers about what they most wanted to see, and then built the most popular features. Customers were invited to sign up for the beta release, and fans were treated to sneak-peek videos and information about what’s coming up. It created tremendous buzz that spilled over into marketing chats on Twitter, marketing groups on Linkedin, and other social media channels. Canva has a lot of hype to live up to…and we’re all betting they are up to the task.
Customer Service Opportunities in Social Signals
Most businesses think they deliver excellent customer service. They are wrong. Only about 8% of customers say they receive good customer service, and 879 million complaints are made about brands each year. About a third of those go unanswered.
Picking up unhappy customers from your competition is like shooting fish in a barrel. Verizon’s current campaign is all about winning back customers with better service. Their marketing campaign takes potshots at other companies who offer relief from Verizon’s higher prices…but don’t offer the same level of service. It’s effective because it’s true. T-Mobile offers lower prices and is luring away customers by offering to buy out their existing contracts, but has a barrage of complaints about spotty text messaging and dropped calls.
If you’re paying attention to social media signals, finding your competition’s dissatisfied customers is easy.
Fine-Tuning The Targets of Your Social Signals
To make the most of social signals, integrate your CRM with other programs, and define actions based on keywords. Segment a list of customers with a specific interest and build a marketing campaign based on topics they are already discussing.
Paying attention to social signals helps you connect to your customers on a personal level and tailor your marketing efforts to their needs and preferences. Information customers share can be used to produce meaningful content, inform new product development, and give your customer service department a friendlier, more personal feel.