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Posted on: April 12th, 2013

Social CRM Done the Right Way

In a day and age that revolves so heavily around technology and online communities, Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and social customer service has never been more important for small businesses.

To paraphrase the Wikipedia definition, “Social CRM is a philosophy and business strategy designed to engage the customer in conversation in an effort to provide value in a trusted and transparent business environment.”

When hearing about a new product or service, consumers now rush to the Web to see what is being said about it.  Google estimates that 83 percent of consumers now go online to do research before making a purchase and 58 percent admit that the reviews they read influence their decision. Gone are the days where a business can use a one-way broadcast or “sales pitch” through traditional advertising mediums and expect consumers to come running in. With so many resources at their fingertips, customers are able to skip the ads and gather information on their own terms.

If done right, businesses can now reap the benefits of social CRM at lower costs than traditional approaches. Simply setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, however, is not the most effective way to engage your customers and build those important relationships.

The key to social CRM is conversation. Reading a company’s Twitter feed or sales pitch on Facebook is not social. So how do you leverage such tools to create a two-way conservation with your customers or target market?

Set up alerts to monitor any mentioning of your brand/company online. Address any questions or concerns in timely fashion and provide insightful answers to gain credibility and loyalty.  If someone is unhappy with their experience at your business, put yourself in their shoes to understand their frustration, and offer a solution to their problem. Most of the time, the customer will retract their negative comments and will eagerly share how their experience was turned around. It is important to avoid coming across as condescending or defensive.

Create fun and relevant topics of conversation through your blogs and social media outlets and encourage discussion to keep in touch with your customers.  This allows you to direct your messages at an audience who is already listening.

Whether you like it or not, your brand is being talked about both on and offline on a regular basis. Be a part of the conversation, engage your customers, and wow them with your social customer service to keep them happy and loyal to your businesses.

Imagine the potential growth if you could leverage the social world to stay connected with your customer s and get them to come to your business just one more time this year.  You do the math.