How Has Communication With Customers Changed? – Part 1
Marketing was once entirely sales-based, but today, it’s all about relationships. These relationships are “subscription-based” – they ebb and flow as customers and prospects tune into your messaging and communications. Customers are ready to be an active, vital part of your business. Are you ready for them?
An estimated 75% of consumers read customer reviews before deciding whether or not to purchase a product/service from a company. If you mess up an order or your customer service is sub-par, the consumer will take to public forums and begin complaining. Allowing these negative comments to persist is a public relations disaster of epic proportions and can decimate a business. Savvy brands know the importance of reputation management but often believe that the best way to tend to consumer needs is offline, away from the glare of millions.
One solution that companies are considering is Social CRM (SCRM) – the process of creating an online community within social networks to learn and adapt to the needs of individuals in the community.
We need to face facts; communication with customers has changed forever. Let’s take a look at how the ‘old’ way of CRM compares with SCRM:
Sales – Traditional CRM involves marketing for the purposes of collecting data and targeting specific audiences. SCRM looks at the bigger picture and aims for the huge potential customer market. By 2017, sales via social networks will be an estimated $30 billion per year.
Marketing – ‘Old’ CRM involves direct advertising, rapid sales and no customer to company communication. SCRM involves talking to customers and also results in a drop in marketing costs.
Customer Service - Traditional CRM customer service is a sorry affair. Designated hours and automated systems remove the personal touch. SCRM involves creating a community for customers where they can discuss their needs and concerns. Social media is the weapon of choice for an increasing number of people when it comes to customer service.
Feedback - With traditional CRM, companies asked consumers for feedback and the spread of information was minimal. SCRM involves customer experiences being shared with millions.
The idea of having your company on displayed to millions on social networks may seem disconcerting, but isn’t this potential success the reason why you set up a business in the first place?
But how do I set up a social community? Won’t I have to answer to every single person in order to keep them as a customer? This is where the ‘Superfan’ comes in and this phenomenon will be discussed in Part 2.