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.

6 Social CRM Trends for 2015

social customer service

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.

Social Customer Service

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

Simplify360 Upgrades Its Campaign, Workflow and Data Access Features

We are constantly upgrading our tool to suit the newer market developments and requirements. This time over, we have added a number of features to simplify the complicated marketing and workflow related processes. Three key areas that have undergone multiple changes are the campaign module, the workflow module and the data access module.

The new adaptations in the campaign module will make effective and efficient marketing extremely simple. With influencer/fan segmentation automated, it gets easier to identify and prioritize messages according to the need of the hour and practice target marketing. The platform has also been enabled with a campaign scheduler and an improved campaign dashboard for easy reference. Among the newest features, now videos can be uploaded directly through the platform on social media channels like YouTube and Facebook.

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Simplify360’s workflow module has also undergone number of changes and now facilitates better CRM through systematic case mapping and automated routing. This avoids confusion among the customer service agents and also allows performing multiple actions like replying and assigning/ closing/following with a single action. The platform is now facilitated with a new item called “softclose” which allows momentary closure of cases and the option to re-open them when needed.

The upgraded platform also allows filtration of response templates. This is coupled with the new notifications bar which provides quicker access to important notifications. Another important feature which has been updated is the ability to reply to mentions/comments with DM and Inbox messages directly. The reply section has also been activated with a spell check option for correct and better impact with the right usage of language. It has also been enabled with a new feature based on hierarchy, which allows approval and assignment of cases based on the pre decided hierarchy.

Enrich you existing social data using the interesting features, the platform has to offer. Reach a desired message by boiling down the search option to a stricter time frame of hours/minutes for specified replying. The platform now also allows manual addition of social data which is otherwise untraceable.

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Some of the other advanced features include easy download of facebook insights data in excel formats, capturing customer details published on other discussion forums/blogs other than Facebook and Twitter. With the new features in place, data visualization has been made user defined by allowing addition of notes (annotations) to the graphs on summary dashboard for reference.

With these new and striking features, Simplify360 is a platform which is now equipped to make all tasks related to marketing, CRM and analytics simpler and more detailed.