Step by Step Guide to the CRM Process

CRM can be challenging, not specifically the replying aspect, but identification and understanding the gravity of the messages. A reaction to a particular message, is a trigger from a chain reaction of understanding the type of message to decision making about what should be the reaction (replying, deleting or ignoring). This is a step by step guide to the details of Customer Relationship Management from an agent’s perspective:

1. Recognizing a message: Once a message has been tracked by your tool and assigned, the first step is to understand whether it is a message that requires your attention, is it spam and can be deleted or is it a generic comment about your brand/product which can be ignored.

a. Respond: It is important for you to hire agents who are fluent in multiple languages. This helps in understanding the messages better and taking actions accordingly. Responding to messages which are direct and simple (clearly a complaint or a query) is easy, however, this isn’t the case always. For example, a message might be framed in a sarcastic tone, however the tool might rate it as positive based on the set keywords. If one is not able to differentiate a message based on the tone, it might lead to taking incorrect actions which lead to an outrage among the customers (considering it is social media and everybody gets to see every mistake you make).

b. Ignore: Ignoring a message is a dicey decision, as it has its own repercussions. A customer might be complaining and you choose to ignore, might lead to hundreds of others retweeting/reposting the message, branding you as a not so customer friendly company! So, how do we decide which messages should be ignored?

Firstly, if the message is a generic comment, not necessarily targeted to your brand but brand like yours in general, it can be ignored. Secondly, if the customer is having a conversation with another customer regarding a service/product by your brand, but not necessarily raising a complaint or a query, the same can be ignored.
Thirdly, if a customer has been replied to in the past and the resolution is in process, however the customer is impatient, he/she can be replied to with an acknowledgement message and ignored later until the resolution is provided. This however, should be done carefully depending on the influential capacity of the customer and should also be followed up upon once the resolution is provided.

c. Delete: Deleting a message has its own good and bad side. Sometimes deleting a message can lead to an influx of negative comments from a lot of customers and might eventually turn out to be an advantage for competitor brands. Here’s a list of situations where using the delete option can be a better idea:

i) Wrong message: If your executive has made a mistake and sent out a message which is not relevant to the topic, if the mistake is detected before anyone reacts to it, it should be deleted immediately.

ii) Spam messages: A lot of times your competitor brands/unhappy customers/ advertisers post a lot of irrelevant content to your social media pages. These might lead to a lot of spam accumulating on your page. These should be deleted! (Read a detailed description about how span can harm your brand below.)
iii) False Claims: After checking and rechecking whether a person’s complaint is a valid one or fake, if found that a person is making fake accusations or false claims against your brand, the messages from that person can be deleted.

2. Checking before Responding: The most important element about maintaining good customer relationship management is remembering your existing customers. Therefore before responding to a customer it is important to check the following:

a. Whether the person has been responded to in the past or not? If it is a repetitive complainer, the case might require special attention.

b. If the person has been responded to in the past, when was the last response made. Accordingly, has resolution been provided for the problems the customer faced in the past, is it a complaint/query about a fresh topic or is it about a lingering problem?

c. What is the complaint history of the customer? Has he/she been complaining about any specific issue continuously (which might mean spamming in many cases or a case which has not be provided resolution for) or have they been genuinely complaining about various issues.
d. Another important thing is to check if the person has provided their contact details in the past. In this case brands can be proactive about their replies and add a friendly and comforting touch to the conversation. This not just leaves the customers happy but also reduces the chances of further negative comments from them.

3. Decision Making: The process of social CRM triggers a number of chain reactions. These reactions are based on instant decisions made based on which message requires what form of action. The first decision to be made is whether a message needs a response/can be ignored or should be deleted. If the message needs a reply, here’s a flowchart explaining how the process flows:

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4. Follow up: Not all customers require a follow up. It is an added effort and hence should be used strategically. Three types of cases require special attention and require a follow up after the first level of response has been made. This is dependent not only on the type of problem shared but also on the popularity of the customer in concern. Here’s a list of type of complaints which require a follow up.

a. If a customer has been promised a resolution within a certain time frame, it is important to follow up and find out whether the problem has been solved or otherwise. This also makes the customers feel important and leads to better customer service reviews. If the resolution has not been provided, it might require special attention and if the customer’s problem is solved it might just earn you an appreciation!
b. Another important criteria which requires a follow up is when the customer is an influencer. They have a huge following and one negative/positive message from them can actually make a difference about the perception of your brand on social media. Therefore, when an influencer complains, it requires immediate attention and resolution. This should be followed up by a follow up message acknowledging the resolution provided.
c. A dig into the history of the complainer can provide details about long time complainers/repetitive complainers. These type of complainers require special attention. If a customer is unhappy with your brand, it is your responsibility to find out the problem and provide resolution at the earliest. You might also want to follow up and make sure their problems have been resolved to add goodwill to your company.

5. Closing a Case: The final step of successfully solving a customer’s problem is closing the case. This can be performed in two ways, partial/soft close, which means the case has been closed for a certain time period and requires a few hours/days for the resolution to be provided. In this case, a follow up after the designated time frame is a great idea.
A permanent case closure should take place only after making sure that resolution for a certain problem has been provided completely and the case does not require any to and fro of messages between the brand and customer.

A little bit about deleting spam messages:

Why do we delete customer messages while doing CRM?

As social media CRM continues to grow, maintaining the quality of conversations that appear on your brand pages has become extremely important. To get this streamlined, it is important to understand the 3 types of conversations related to a brand, i.e. positive, negative and neutral. The positive and negative messages are easy to deal with, if it is positive we appreciate it, if it is negative we take appropriate action on it. The most important genre of messages that needs to be dealt with are the neutral messages, which are neither brand related nor product related.

Most brands believe that deleting negative messages is the best solution, however we beg to differ here. It actually might not be the greatest idea because you can sure delete the messages from your page, but this does not stop the trend of increasing negativity around your brand. Instead this might just add fuel to the fire. Therefore it is better to reply to negative messages and rectify the mistakes if you have made any.

However, deleting some messages from your page is extremely important, but what are those messages? Those are nothing but the spam messages which are irrelevant to your brand, the products you sell or the industry you belong to. These spam or unrelated messages affect your brand and your ROI. If you keep all the unwanted messages on your social media pages, it sure will increase your quantitative quotient, but reduce your qualitative quotient. Consider this, for ORM, qualitative data is the most important aspect.

In other words, spam messages leave a huge impact on your ROI. How?

These spam or unwanted messages also generate negative SEO around your brand. So when people search with the keywords not associated with your brand/products, in search engines, and the keywords are a part of your spam messages, your brand page might appear to the users as well. When customers browse your page and see information that is not related to their search, they instantly exit the page. However, you do get charged for the click that has already been made and this affects your CPC (Cost per Click). If you create a budget for your daily CPC, it will hit the limit very fast, without even reaching your qualitative customers, eventually increasing your investment as well.

You might be a rich brand and your daily budget might be a big amount too, but does this help better your page’s rank? Spam/unrelated messages act as Black Hat SEO which can increase your page rank for a certain time but in the long run this might not be a healthy decision for the brand. After Google’s new algorithm update, it can now block any spam URL or pages which means your page might get permanently blocked as well.
Therefore to increase your brand’s value and page rank, along with a healthy ROI it is necessary to delete those messages from your page or from your comment section.