5 Steps to Choose the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool

Social Media has evolved immensely over the past few years, with hundreds and thousands of people signing up on a daily basis. The space in fact is constantly growing and the scope for companies to extract valuable customer insights is also increasing accordingly. So, how do the companies access this valuable information? Does human monitoring work perfectly to extract all the information that a strategically designed monitoring tool can?

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Whether one likes it or not, the answer is actually NO! Our human eye misses out on a lot of information, which is important to make sure your social media strategy is on the right track. It also helps in targeting your customers better and at the right time. So, what exactly do companies look for, while choosing the best social media monitoring tools?

Here’s a brief about what is required:

1. Listening

The basic step to Social Media Monitoring is listening, i.e. keeping an eye on who is talking about your brand, where and when. This helps in making sure that you do not miss out on any information that is being disseminated about your brand, whether good or bad. In fact, this also helps the customer service desk to serve better, considering the consistency and well structured display of content, that they are supposed to respond to.

However, every monitoring tool might not be able to provide this. Therefore, it is necessary that one looks for specific features, such as the number of social media platforms that the tool supports a subscription with, the kind of keywords that the tool supports, the ease of removing spam messages and content. More the number of facilities the tool provides better are the results.

2. Integration

Another important aspect is the ability of the tool to integrate with other software, for better access to contacts and information. Especially if the company is also looking at providing support through the same tool, there needs to be a proper mechanism in place, which allows integrating customer lists, contacts and profiles for reference and also easy access to answers for frequently asked questions.

3. Features and Analysis

Every tool has a pre decided set of features, which helps customizing data visualisation according to the needs of the company. This includes viewing your data according to the choice of language you prefer, region you wish to focus on, demographics you need to look at or even the sentiment around the topic of search.
This helps in reaching perfect values for analysis of big data and deriving conclusions about trending topics, industry specific researches and more.

4. Spam Filtration

One of the most important aspects of Social Media Monitoring is being able to differentiate between real and valuable content versus spam content. If this process needs to be done manually, it might take the longest time. Therefore, it is necessary to use a tool which does the same for you by removing content which does not add value to your research, which is repetitive or which might be posted by unidentified people.

5. Budget

Another important aspect which needs to be considered while hiring/buying a monitoring tool is how much does the tool cost. If, the service the tool provides is not in line with the amount you pay to use it, it might turn out to be a complete waste. Considering it is a data extraction tool, specified volumes of data is offered at a particular pre decided rate. Making sure that you are receiving the right amount of data, at the right rate is something that companies should focus on while buying a monitoring tool.

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.”

Social Media Analytics – Necessity or Luxury ?

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It is surprising how only a few companies are conducting competitive analysis based on social media data. Almost all processes today are cloud based and social media is becoming the hub of all communications. Keeping tab of what your competitors are doing and how they are faring on social media can help you strategize your social content better.

Social Media Analytics is the ideal way to determine competitor strength, not just based on the responsiveness they receive on social media posts, but also based on the amount/types of complaints they are receiving. This gives an estimate of the total mentions your competitors are getting online.

Most small companies choose to opt out of social media analysis, however the user graph has seen a growth over the past few years. The number still stands at a small 36% of businesses, who use social media analytics to determine more than just competitor performance.

Let’s take a look at few social media metrics, measuring which can help build your business better:

1. Reach: Audience growth is the metric to be measured here with reference to the number of likes for Facebook and the increase in number of followers in Twitter. This however is not simply the count of number of followers but a complete analysis of growth over time. This includes percentage figures of when and why the growth or depression in audience has occurred.

This metric can also be further refined by categorizing the growth of audience into various stages, for example number of new followers, number of followers gained during a particular campaign, number of followers lost due to better competitor performance and more. This growth rate helps you evaluate the performance of your various marketing/advertising endeavors, for future application.

2. Engagement: Facebook comes with their own metrics for post engagement and reach, however such metrics are still just the basics of measuring engagement. Social media Analytics on the other hand allows you to understand detailed metrics related to which content generated what amount of engagement, who are the people (age, gender, income group etc.) and differentiates them from the silent followers list.

How does your business benefit from growing number of followers? The trick here is to measure whether your marketing efforts are actually reaching the destined people. The amount and kind of engagement received on various content pieces gives an idea of whether the buzz around your brand is genuine or not. Analyzing the engagement rate against the total number of followers allows a brand to identify potential customer/prospects with ease.

3. Acquisition: The two main metrics to be considered here are returning visitors and referral points. Understanding whether the audience your campaign/channel is receiving are new visitors or returning ones is important. This helps in understanding the likeability of your brand and also the popularity your brand is generating over time.
Another important aspect to measure is whether the audience is routed to your channel via social media references or any other means. This metric can be easily acquired using a social media analytics tool or Google Analytics.

CTR (click through rate) is also an important metric which helps understand where your audience is coming from. A detailed study about the various types of conversations your marketing tactics generate and how effective your social networking profile is proving to be can help depict accurate growth.

4. Conversion: Striking a balance between increasing the number of visitors to your website and the number of sales you make is extremely important. This also requires well defined paths to reach those goals, for example a target driven campaign can help you increase your sale during a particular season.

This increases the need to keep a tab on how many people visited your site and how many actual conversions have happened. This coupled with audience behavior around returning customers and tracking the buying phase through social referral pointers helps increase your sales accountability.

5. Activity: While most of the other metrics are customer centric, this one is more brand driven. Except from observing how your marketing approaches are performing on social media, if your customer service is taken online, the same can help you understand how your brand is perceived against your competition. An easy analytics study about the amount of positive conversations around your brand VS the negative conversations can give you live feed about your brand’s performance.

Along with brand performance, this also helps reduce your expenditure. From a whole command center set up specifically for customer service, if the amount of queries to be taken offline can be reduced to minimum, it can cut a lot of cost. This leads to a lot of savings for your business.

Apart from these there are a number of metrics that needs to be kept in mind for a detailed social media analysis to be possible. As social media continues to grow and the dependency on both qualitative and quantitative data for strategical planning increases, analyzing social data has become extremely important.

Here’s a list of metrics that a social media analytics report ought to have:

1. Total mentions received by your brand between a given period of time, across social media platforms. This also includes data related to which platform incurred how many mentions, helping determine which social channel is working in favor of your brand and which isn’t. It also gives a day wise calculation of when your brand is spoken about most.

2. Total number of impressions along with the number of conversations around a particular post/piece of content can also be calculated. To add more value to the measure, analytics can also determine the number of unique authors and sources talking about your brand.

3. An analytics report also helps understand the high and low points around the content you share on social media, based on which future content strategy can be designed.

4. The places where the maximum amount of conversation around your brand/campaign is coming can also be determined using special social media analytics tactics.

5. Amazingly, analytics can also find the influencers who are talking about your brand, which can be used strategically to endorse your brand in the future.

6. It can also help determine the device used to talk about your brand, such as a computer, a mobile phone, tablet etc. Depending on the device used by maximum people, targeted campaigns can be hosted for future endeavors.

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.

4 Ways to Differentiate Between Traditional and Social CRM

Traditional CRM to Social CRM

Engaging with customers is one of the most important aspects to maintain a good brand name. It is also one of the major issues that most companies find challenging. However, the customer relationship aspect of business is constantly evolving and the shift from “Traditional CRM” to “Social CRM” has taken “customer relationship management” as a concept and practice to a whole new level.

Here’s a glimpse at how the process has evolved and changed a lot for the good and a little for the bad as well.

1. Communication has now become a two way process. Reaching a company is much easier, thanks to the various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. A process which was traditionally focused on the company directing sales/marketing related content to their customers/prospects from a prerecorded set of data has now changed to a dynamic process where customers reach the company as and when they want.

This transformation is huge and a significant one as, the communication process which was predominantly brand driven has now shifted to being customer driven. More power to the public!

2. The focus has shifted from being sales driven to building relationships. Brands today have come to realize that it is the pool of returning customers which needs to be targeted and retained. A good “word of mouth” is company’s concern today. Retaining customers and keeping them happy is what social CRM has largely enabled.

Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, companies can reach out to their customers which highly engaging content and also address their issues in public. This helps build transparency of the brand and also makes the brand more humane. If you have already connected the dots, social media has helped build a relationship between the brands and their customers, which eventually results in more loyal and returning customers, brand advocates and some free marketing!

3. Traditional CRM was a process, whereas Social CRM is a strategy. Traditional CRM practices involved a canned mechanism to make phone calls, send email messages or attend live meetings with existing customers and prospects. This has evolved to a more relaxed process with customers engaging in more personalized conversations with brands through social media.

This not just helps in building a better relationship with the customers but also enriches the brands customer data, which helps in targeting the marketing initiatives better.

4. The difference between Traditional CRM and Social CRM can be distinctly differentiated based on the software used. Traditional CRM tools were only focused at recording and processing information for direct communication, namely contact number, e mail address, mailing address and the like. It also had a limited capacity to record historical data; only data related to communication between the brand and the customer.

This has shifted drastically with the invention of software that could track their customer’s social behavior. This allowed the brands to understand their customer needs and interests better and serve them accordingly. It also allowed giving a more personalized direction to every communication with customers based on their interests.

From an unorganized dump of information about customers, i.e. traditional CRM, social CRM has moved to gathering and managing customer information into more strategically divided groups.This has not just helped in engaging with customers better but also increased each brands potential to spread a good word of mouth.

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.

Simplify360 Rebranding Announcement

We are proud to announce Simplify360’s brand new outlook towards Social Customer Service. Going forward, our company’s focus is going to be deeply inclined towards providing the best social CRM and you will also get to see constant updates to our CRM features.

Simplify360 as a tool has undergone significant transformation in the past few months. The new identity has been built keeping in mind the requirements of our customers and the direction Simplify360 wishes to head towards.

However, we have also kept in mind the existing positioning of the brand and hope to establish ourselves as the world leaders in the field of Social Customer Service.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We look forward to delivering you great service with this new focus.