The Magic of Social CRM Overwhelms the Financial Sector

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There are plenty of reasons for financial businesses to be excited about CRM in the financial sector right now. After all, without these advancements, retaining customers on a massive scale would be quite nearly an impossible task. So how are CRM advancements shaping the finance sector, and what can we expect from the future of CRM in finance? What are some of the problems in the CRM-finance world, and what can any industry take away from these missteps?

Put the C Back in CRM

As the old adage goes, the customer comes first. It’s the first word in the acronym and it’s the most important aspect of a CRM program. The problem is that some companies (and even some of the programs designed to help them) spend far too much time focusing on what they can do for the business and not what they can do for the customer. This is not to say that it is unimportant to consider how a business goes about providing the best possible service to their customers, but instead that too much focus on that aspect of customer service can have negative consequences.

Once you get into the area of manipulating consumers (often with language, but also with poor focus) in order to get more out of them, relationship management has become more about control and less about service. More time spent determining how to best communicate with people is less time spent actually communicating with them. CRM and the technology surrounding the concept isn’t intended to make the process more difficult or cumbersome, it’s intended to make everything function smoothly. It’s time to talk about how a modern financial business can use CRM to truly improve their services before their customers go elsewhere.

Deliver an Excellent Experience

In order to make the best use of a CRM program and implement strong customer relations, it will be important for businesses to determine how to give their customers a good experience. When it comes to finances, it can be very important to make quick contact with a customer, and there are many different factors to consider.

What do they need to see?

Don’t just give your customers what they want, give them what they need. By studying your customer base and determining how they use financial services, you can begin to discover which services your competitors are neglecting to provide and capitalize on that by setting your business apart from the crowd.

How can you reach them?

Once again, through intense study of your customer base, you can determine information such as this about your clientele and use that to your advantage. If they are more likely to prefer a phone call instead of an e-mail, take this into consideration when deciding how to contact them. If they’re more likely to be receptive to a response on social media, this will also be important to consider.

How can we improve their service?

Take a look at what has been successful for your company and try to figure out why your customers come to you for their financial needs. Here’s a hint: It’s not your company motto, although you may believe in the message that it sends. Through careful examination of your success, you can start to see what people do and do not like about your services. There will more than likely be areas where improvement is needed, but don’t forget to keep providing the service that keeps people coming back while improving other areas of your business.

These are only a few examples of different questions that a business in the financial sector should be asking themselves when working on their CRM. A Customer Relationship Management program can help to manage a lot of these tasks, but it doesn’t work like magic. The technology exists to help form a better connection with customers, not to make life easier for those in customer service.

Focus on the Customer Experience

The problem with spending too much time figuring out how a company will use a CRM program to make customer relations more efficient is that it often pulls the focus away from the customer. Instead of asking how the customer uses financial services or how they would like to approach their finances, you might find a financial business asking how their employees approach customers and how they can provide the best service. Such an approach can make a company blind to the actual experiences of their customer base, which can lead to disaster if they are not careful.

Instead of working from within the organization and moving outward, it’s time for modern businesses take a look at how their business functions from an outside perspective. This is the primary means by which a customer will communicate with a business and use its services, so it will be important to streamline this process and make it as simple and useful as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to get that done if it’s been a while since you actually experienced the manner in which your customers interact with you.

CRM is still incredibly important, but it’s time to change how it is viewed in business and how we interact with the technology that has been built up around the Customer Relationship Management experience. Hopefully the future of CRM in this industry will be more focused on the customer experience and less focused on how things function behind the scenes.

Who knows? Perhaps the technology of CRM programs will even advance to the point where social media allows financial institutions to establish a constant connection with their customers, keeping them informed at all times. Heck, we’re already reaching the point where the simple press of a button can instantly inform us of our finances. The process is becoming quite streamlined, but as always, there are still areas that need improvement. That being said, the future looks bright for CRM in the financial industry!

About the Author: Dave Landry Jr. is a financial consultant for several small businesses. Dave is also passionate about finding and perfecting new customer service strategies, which is when he turns to Simplify360 for ideas. He hopes you enjoy this article.”

6 Social CRM Trends for 2015

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Every industry goes through a number of changes every year. Some of them become benchmarks and eventually form the top trends for the particular industry. Just like all industries the Customer Service industry has also undergone a number of changes, for example a completely voice based process where the only means of reaching the customer care executives was by either visiting the company’s service centers or telephoning them to pay a visit, eventually evolved to become a non-voice e mail based process.

After the evolution of social media, the world shrank to become a connected whole and almost all forms of communication went online. Companies started owning profiles on social media and considering the real time era that we are in, customer trust shifted to these online spaces, as a means to reach the companies for faster resolution.

Here’s a list of 5 trends of 2015 that needs to be kept in mind during 2016:

1. Real-Time: The fast paced world demands responses at the speed of lightening. Customers today demand an almost immediate action for any query or complaint made by them on social media. Companies have deployed CRM initiatives to take care of these issues, as according to a particular study less than 42% of the people complaining online expect a reply within the first one hour of posting.

2. Unlimited Options: Today’s generation is always up for some change. They are constantly itching to switch brands and try something new. In today’s date, customer loyalty is much harder to earn compared to times when there were lesser brands. The market monopolies have broken and now every brand is craving for consumer attention. According to a research done by Accenture, 66% of the customers leave a brand due to bad customer service! Also if your competitors are providing better customer support than you are it is likely that your customers would prefer them over you. (40% of customers shift to a competitor brand due to bad customer service)

3. Word of Mouth Works: If you were starting to assume that word of mouth is old school, here’s what you need to know. On an average 58 million tweets are sent out daily, which generates more conversations and hence more word of mouth. People are constantly communicating with their peers and taking advice before making purchase decisions. Another important platform is review sites, where people are looking for feedback from customers who have used your product in the past.

4. Repetitive complainers: Customers wish for instant resolution to their problems, meaning they do not wish to post repetitive complaints to get their problems resolved. This is precisely the reason why most companies today press on the “First Response Time” factor. More than a problem getting resolved, your customers are looking to be acknowledged that their problem will be solved. Most customers are ready to wait for some time once they are assured that their problem has been recorded and is taken care of.
However, this walks hand in hand with the actual customer support team and the field service team for most companies, which needs to be in sync with the online customer service team and provide faster resolutions.

5. The human touch: Although the world is turning into a machine dependent one, customer service still remains one industry where customers expect a good human response. While there are people who prefer to reach a brand using a digital platform and others still prefer the traditional “telephone conversation”, in both the cases people wish the responses to be human.
For example, people do not wish to go through the entire process of automated responses before actually talking to an executive. Similarly, people also do not wish to receive canned responses on social media, which are automated and triggers as and when people complain.

Considering the above mentioned Social CRM trends in the coming year, brands can provide better customer service and live up to the customer’s expectations in 2016.

6 Strategies Behind Great Customer Service On Social Media

If your customer service has not gone social yet, your business is clearly missing out on a lot. Today’s customers are technologically advance and social media savvy. Traditional CRM has taken a backseat and people take to social media to rant about their bad experiences, which considering the number of people on social media, spreads like wildfire. What most companies are missing out on is tracking these unhappy customers and stopping the fire before it spreads.

Providing great customer service through social media can be a task, especially if you are not associated with the right CRM company. The world is getting smarter and hence it is a smarter choice to switch from traditional CRM techniques to social CRM, where companies not just listen to all mentions made about your company but also allows you to respond immediately without any lag of finding the message.

Here are a few strategies every company needs to adopt for providing great customer service:

ENSURE IMPECCABLE LISTENING

Your customers might be talking about your brand on various social media platforms and it is not enough to keep track of just Facebook and Twitter (although these are the most celebrated and influential platforms). It is highly possible that a well known blogger has posted a hate blog about your brand, and is receiving huge traction. Many people also prefer visiting review sites such as Mouthshut.com before purchasing a new product or if they are facing any problems, to find out if other people are facing the same. Negative reviews about your brand might not just impact your new prospects but also lead to a huge uproar about your products through cross platform sharing. Keeping a constant eye on all platforms can help curtail the damage extensively. Immediate actions taken to address the problems of the people or at a minimum level address the problems provides a more comforting feel to the customers and helps build better customer relationships.

DEFINE A PROFILE FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

It is important to keep your marketing messages separate from your customer service ones, to avoid confusion and to perform more targeted operations. Newer companies like PayTm and Flipkart has been successful in establishing a separate platform to address queries and complaints, allowing customer service agents to improve their response rate and time. This also lets the social media marketing professionals focus on their work without getting interfered by irrelevant content.

It also makes the reporting process simpler, by providing distinct parameters for measurement, namely how people are responding to the marketing endeavors/campaigns vs. people’s perception of the brand based on their experience.

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BRAND AWARENESS

Transparency and the ability to relate to, is something that all customers seek from a brand. This leads to a lot of dependency between the marketing and customer service teams. Brands need to clearly communicate about the newest campaigns, offers, contests, change in hierarchy and any other endeavours. This can be done through the social media marketing channel, press releases, ads, direct marketing like e-mails and text messages. This helps in keeping the customers aware about the changes that a brand constantly undergoes and hence reduce pressure on the customer service teams. It is always better to provide complete information from the beginning of a new endeavour than provide answers to thousands of queries later!

Brand Awareness Through Social Media

SIGN IN /SIGN OUT CLEARLY

Most companies have set up a 24/7 social media customer service desk to make sure all the complaints and queries get responded to without any delay. After all, social media is all about being real time! However, if you are a company which does not provide round-the-clock customer service it is better to keep your customers aware about this. It’s easy, all that the executives need to do is sign in and sign out clearly. Make use of a good morning picture or just say Hi! We are here to help you. Also when it is time to leave make sure you close all complaints that come in before the closing time and sign off with a Good night or a Goodbye! This lets your customers know when they should reach you with their queries and also avoids clogging of complaints over the night, making the process more organised for the customer service executives.

WALK THE EXTRA MILE

If complete customer satisfaction is what your company is seeking, make sure to reach out to your customers first. It is best to monitor what your customers are talking about your brand and knock their door first to solve their problems, before they reach you. This shows that you actually care for your customers and bridges the emotional gap. This not only helps in building a relationship with the customer but also seeds for some good “word of mouth”.
Acknowledging customers after the problem is taken care of is also equally important. This increases positive sentiment about your brand and builds on the trusts factor for prospective customers.

DON’T BE A ROBOT

There was a time when most companies had found a way to reduce their first response time by generating automated responses to complaints. Consumers today, have become smarter and have learnt to do their bit of research before reaching out to a company. Mechanical replies and canned responses tick off customers immensely in today’s date. Therefore adding a human touch to each message sent out can help curb this problem. Adding a human touch could include ending the message with the agent’s name, adding an emoticon every now and then, accompanying the apologetic messages with images and the like.

This helps in making the customer feel important and also gives the vibe of their problems getting solved and not just being acknowledged for no further action.

Social Customer service sign in/sign out

How Does Social CRM Help Boost Your SALES

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Until recently the limitations of CRM were higher than the benefits derived out of it. With evolution of better technology, the processes have reached a highly automated level. Many functions which required hours of dedicated manual labor can now be performed automatically by a single tool.

When social CRM was still in its budding phase, its operations were limited to listening and providing customer service on various social media platforms. However, lately its use for enhancing sales has become the talk of the town and intelligent case routing techniques has made its application simpler. The constant CRM developments have made it possible to leverage social media collated data to effectively channel sales activities and integrate them with other functions.

Approach 1:

Sales as an operation does not function singularly and needs to be constantly backed by the company’s/brand’s marketing efforts. A CRM tool can be used to keep track of any form of communication happening from the brand’s end or even otherwise.

The tool should be fed with sets of rules to segregate and trigger various workbaskets depending on the type of message received. This can e easily achieved by feeding the tool a list of commonly used terms, based on which the messages get segregated and delivered to the destined team. This can be used as a cue by the “Sales” team to keep track of people showing interest in the home product as well as competitor brands.

Once the target markets/individual targets have been discovered, they should be approached, initially using more subtle ways. Here’s a list of steps to be followed:

1. Following the prospect and their background, i.e. the industry size they are seeking solution for, the industry type, their possible budget and more.

2. This can be accompanied by certain representative from the company should approach the prospect personally and probe them to answer questions. More the number of questions they answer better you understand their needs/requirements.

3. This can be supported by the company pushing content which is targeted at solving the prospect’s problems. For this to happen, the brand needs to do their homework well, by tracking the prospects social media presence, their preferred place for communication, the space they use the most and the like.

4. A sales representative step in at this time and talk to them about how they can provide solutions to the prospects problems and how are they better than the rest of the solutions in the market.

5. However, one needs to approach them only during the stage when the prospect is actually looking for solutions. (There are a lot of people who generally talk/discuss issues but might not be seeking solutions)

This brings us to the question, how do we reach these prospects. This is a collaborative effort of social media listening as well as advertising (both online and offline) and research by the brand’s sales team. A good CRM tool can make all the above mentioned stages much simpler.

Approach 2:

Today’s is a fast paced world and if not followed stringently, one might easily lose out on prospects. Modern ways of doing business requires easy identification of problems and even faster ways of providing solutions. Enabling a CRM tool can help listen to conversations where your brand is being spoken about or in this case, when a prospect is looking out for a solution your brand provides.

Most companies miss out on opportunities due to lack of visibility of key customer areas which can be eventually converted into positive sales prospects. CRM tools help keep your customer/ lead details updated by identifying potential areas and routing it to designated workbaskets.

This approach can be collaborated with other marketing campaigns to initiate a decision making process for the prospect, by citing examples of existing case studies/clients with similar problems and sharing their successful experience stories.

Just to clear the air of doubts, this is no way means promoting any form of stalking activities. CRM tools only provide data which can be otherwise publicly viewed, except this is a congregation of hundreds of selective data.

7 Guidelines to Provide Great Customer Service on Social Media

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If customer service had to be described in 3 words, for sure “fast”, “appropriate” and “satisfactory” would top the list. Customer service has actually reached a state where companies can no longer keep it in the back seat, in fact as most companies today mention; it has become the backbone of many processes and areas of functionality. Be it marketing or sales or for that matter the product/brand’s personality as a whole, all these are dependent on how people perceive and receive your brand.

According to research conducted in the past by various platforms, customer’s reaction towards a brand, depend mainly on two aspects, namely, product quality and the quality of customer service received. So, what exactly is the ‘mantra’ for great customer service? It’s pretty simple, reach your customers instantly, add in a bit of personal touch and solve their problems by deploying a smooth process!

The dawn of social media has changed people’s outlook not just towards shopping but also their pre sales and post sales experiences. People talk to their peers before purchasing a product and what better place to get opinions than social media, where the people from across the world are ready to give an opinion. What’s interesting is the post sales procedure, where people express their happiness about the purchased product or how bad the experience was! Here’s where your Social Media Customer Service team needs to jump in, to avoid any extreme situations. It is very possible that you “chose” to ignore a complaint made by any of your customers via Twitter; you might not be ready for the situation, but it has already gone viral!

So, here’s what a Manager needs to teach his/her Social Customer Service Agents for excellent after effects:

1. BE THE CUSTOMER: Treat your customers just the way you would like to be treated. Every customer service agent is also a customer at the end of the day, therefore standing in the customer’s shoes is pretty easy. Respond to them in exactly the same way how you would like to be responded to if you were complaining about a product and half the problem is solved. What matters the most, is the first response received by the customer.

2. MAKE IT QUICK: People hate waiting in queue, be it actually standing at the billing counter at a hypermarket or waiting on hold for their turn to come so they can speak to the customer service agent. People therefore have found a solution for themselves. All the people who are on various social media channels today complain using this platform. This being said, the expectations of people to receive a reply are also as fast as a maximum of 1 hour. Therefore companies who have achieved a first response time of about 5 minutes record highly satisfied customers.

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3. ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH: All customers love to be pampered, therefore adding a dear or a good morning to your message might actually help calm down a certainly angry customer. This also makes the customer feel that you are actually listening to their problems and do not consider you a machine which is simply shooting messages even without reading the complaint. This reduces the risk of continuous complaints from them which also reduce the chance that many people would see the complaint avoiding chances of virality. Also do not forget to leave your name at the end!

4. DO NOT ARGUE: Your customer might be completely wrong and might still be shouting at you for bad service, you still cannot answer them back with foul/horrific words. Be the patient one and respond to their complaints with proof and reasoning. Explaining them the situation might actually help calming them down rather than fighting with them. This will also help create a good image among the rest of the customers who might stand up for you as well.

5. SAY THANK YOU: People always love that extra effort put in to make them feel special. Adding a thank you for a compliment or generally for sharing the problem can help reduce the tension between the customer and the company. They feel more welcomed and hence are willing to co-operate until you solve their problem.

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6. SOLVE THE PROBLEM: Do not leave a case unattended or half attended just because you do not have the solution instantly. Make sure to reach out to a senior or someone in the management who can take care of it. This makes the customer feel important. Keep them informed about each step/process and they will be willing to wait that extra minute without complaining. For all you know, they might even leave a few kind words adding to your company’s charm!

7. REFER BEFORE YOU REPLY: You might have a returning customer at your disposal, someone who has complained in the past and has also shared their details. Keeping track of historical data and referring to them before replying to the customer can help understand their problem better. A reply which says “We have your contact details and we will look into the issue on priority” instead of “Please share your contact details for further assistance” always sounds better. The customer has lesser work to do and so do you.

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Disclaimer: All the images displayed above are from the official handles of the respective companies. The examples mentioned above are not Simplify360’s clients.