• December 1, 2015
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Social Customer Service Is Here

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Customer strategists who are serious about improving their customer relationships know how important relevant and accurate customer data is to their organization’s success. Yet many aren't investing enough in emerging customer channels or in cleaning their customer data. Both issues are becoming increasingly important in the digital era.

For example, in spite of the overwhelming popularity of social media, a significant number of executives still aren't investing time or money into this emerging channel. To be fair, not every business wants, or needs, social media. But many companies that can benefit from it haven't yet fully committed to it. In fact, fewer than 30 percent of companies with a Twitter account answered tweeted questions earlier this year from consumers, according to our cover story, "Social Media Is Now a Viable Support Channel." So why are companies still dragging their feet? There are a few reasons. Chief among them—according to the article, by Senior News Editor Leonard Klie—is customer security and privacy concerns.

Social media behemoths Facebook and Twitter, along with social CRM vendors (such as Conversocial and Sparkcentral), are trying to allay these concerns. With investments in direct messaging, security, and data integration, these companies are encouraging more enterprises to take another look at social media as a viable support channel. They're not alone in the effort. Last month, I moderated the webinar series "Unlocking the Power of Customer Experience," which features social media insight from SAP and Sprinklr. For more social media customer service strategies, view the webinar “4 Strategies to Service Customers on Social Media,” featuring wisdom from Sparkcentral, NewVoiceMedia, Freshdesk, and Janrain.

As organizations brace themselves for social media and its customer data fire hose, it's essential to remember the importance of maintaining clean and accurate data. This truism predates social media and is only magnified by it. Naturally, the ability to collect more customer data is something organizations should embrace, but if they are not careful, more data can beget more data errors.

These errors often have various consequences associated with them, such as wasted marketing collateral, shipping and handling costs, and labor costs required to fix mistakes. By ignoring data errors, you're not only susceptible to incurring these additional costs but are also likely to annoy customers. All of these issues steadily gnaw away at your organization's overall profitability and customer satisfaction. That's why data cleansing is important for every customer-facing department, and it must be done periodically. Our feature story "Rethinking Data Quality," by Associate Editor Oren Smilansky, offers tips on how to do so effectively. For more information, consider watching the following webinars: "Fixing the No. 1 Mistake That Every Salesforce Buyer Makes," featuring insight from Informatica Cloud and Bluewolf; and "How to Avoid a CRM Nightmare: What You Should Know," with tips from Experian Data Quality.

New digital trends will expand the boundaries of available customer information. As customers become more digitally connected and leave more digital footprints, firms must be smart about the ways they collect and maintain customer data. It could mean the difference between success and failure.

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As you plan your CRM strategies for the year ahead, consider attending our CRM Evolution conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. (May 23–25, 2016). There, you can join CRM analysts, consultants, vendors, and peers to learn how to take your CRM efforts to the next level. Register by April 22 for a $200 discount off the Full Three-Day Conference Pass or the All Access Pass (which includes entry to the CRM Evolution, Customer Service Experience, and SpeechTEK conferences).

Editorial Director David Myron can be reached at dmyron@infotoday.com or on Twitter @dmyron.

 

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