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A Dozen Ways to Improve Your Social CRM: Page 2

By Jennifer Schiff     Feedback
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Make it easy for customers to contact you. In case a shopper wants or needs to contact the company for more details — which social media platforms aren't really made for — "the consumer should not have to go anywhere else or dig on another site to find out how to contact the company via email or phone," said STELLAService's Leiser. "In practice, this means clearly displaying the phone numbers and emails for the company on all relevant Facebook, Twitter and other pages."

Reply to Facebook and Twitter queries in a timely fashion. Whenever a customer pays you a compliment or asks you a question on your Facebook wall or on Twitter, reply as soon as possible (within 24 hours). "Taking a second to acknowledge a wall post makes customers feel like they've been heard and is an important part of building a rapport," said Goldberg of America's Floor Source.

Tag your contacts and interactions so you can group them by project or campaign or sales cycle, advised Mansfield of Matt About Solutions.

Add design customization and branding to your social media messaging. "Most of the major social media platforms allow implementation of custom graphics, but few businesses take full advantage of this feature," said Matthew Fellows, copywriter and content manager at Rightlook Creative. "If you're serious about interacting with customers via social media, show them by designing a custom layout that matches your website, blog and brand. Custom-branding your social media account will not only set you apart in a sea of default layouts, but will encourage users to interact [with you] ... and show them that their interactions are with someone who really cares."

Turn bad buzz about your competitors into business for you. "Monitor negative tweets about the competition, route them to your sales reps, and make the tweeters an offer [a promotional discount of coupon, for example] they can't resist," advised Fergus Griffin, vice president of product marketing for Salesforce.com's Service Cloud. "It's a great way to find receptive prospects — and beat the competition."

Solicit customer feedback — and reward them for it. "Ask customers for their feedback on products and services you offer," suggested Eric Groves, senior vice president of strategy for corporate development and innovation at Constant Contact. Then "reward them for their patronage" with, say, special offers or discount codes. "A valued customer is a loyal customer, and a loyal customer is an advocate" for your brand.

Use online chat to better connect with customers. "While Facebook and Twitter are well-established as quick tools to address customer questions, one untapped area with lots of potential is online chat," said Jennifer Bach, marketing manager at TELUS International. "Not all troubleshooting can be answered in an online forum or 140-character burst," she said. And online chat provides businesses a safe, secure, more personal way to immediately connect with customers and provide them with the answers they are seeking in real time.

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to Enterprise Apps Today and runs a marketing communications firm focused on helping small and mid-sized businesses.

This article was originally published on June 9, 2011
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