How HP Integrated Social Media into its International CRM System

In an increasingly digital world, customers are turning to social media to interact with brands in record numbers. At HP, four customers turn to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WeChat for help every second; and according to Gartner, "90 percent of customer service will be handled by social media by 2020."

That means the days of casually managing online conversations through a single community manager who's isolated in the marketing department are over. Brands need a reliable way to monitor and track customer interactions over time and allow social media support agents to connect with subject matter experts so that they can quickly and accurately respond. When they do, the impact is powerful: 71 percent of customers who get an effective response say they will recommend the brand to others, says NM Incite, and 50 percent say they are more likely to buy from a brand they can interact with on social media.

Social media management tools such as Sprinklr and Hootsuite can help teams manage multiple social media accounts and conversations, but these days, even that's not enough.

It's really important to be wherever your customers are, both online and offline, and to consolidate everything coming in with one comprehensive tool. CRM integration opened our eyes to how much information we were missing out on as we interacted with customers. In the past, we worked in silos and our social agents had no idea if customers had called us before. Now agents have a 360-view of things when they're solving a customer issue, including products the customer has purchased and previous customer service interactions we've had with them online, in stores, or over the phone.

With social care services integrated with the company's CRM solution, it is far easier for HP agents to see where to take the conversation and how to best help the customer. Not only that, but efficiencies are greatly improved—agent engagement with customers has increased 187 percent and social response times were cut by 60 percent, from seven hours to under two hours.

Social Media: Where Service and Marketing Come Together

In some cases a customer's plea for help on Twitter or Facebook may be the first direct interaction they have with the HP brand. They may have bought their printer or PC from Costco or Best Buy and never talked with an HP sales representative. So we look at these interactions as our chance to not only solve their problem but to build a relationship with them.   

For example, Edith promised to never buy HP products ever again. (This is an actual HP customer interaction but the customer's name has been changed to protect her privacy.)

HP quickly responded and asked for the chance to solve her problem and turn her experience around.

The company took the conversation offline, worked to solve her issue and thereby earned her loyalty back. Edith responded by giving the company kudos online, illustrating the more public nature of online customer service when compared to phone or in-store support. Statistics show that customers, like Edith, who have a positive service interaction with a brand online are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates, a fact HP notices in a 2 percent increase in Net Promoter Score.

Social care interactions are both highly personal and visible at the same time. Whether the customers bought a product from you before or are evaluating a new purchase, they are paying attention, and so are the people they are connected to. You simply can't separate customer service and brand marketing anymore.

Yielding Results Outside of Customer Care

In 2014, HP saw an $18.5 million return on investment in warranty customers who solved their problems via social channels instead of calling HP. However, a reduction in more traditional customer care costs is just one example of the positive implications of integrating social care services into a CRM tool, and other benefits may not seem as intuitive to organizations considering a similar move.

It's not just about a cheaper way to solve customer issues. Social listening at HP provides a tremendous benefit to our product development and customer service teams, as they get a much higher volume of customer feedback, which is captured verbatim and delivered in real time. These capabilities weren't available a decade ago. 

Listening to customers on social media also uncovers early warning signs about potential issues, allowing the company to respond quickly and protecting the HP brand from the sometimes-explosive nature of Internet PR snafus.

To hear more details about HP's social customer care efforts, attend the CRM Evolution conference and sit in on the presentation "Turn Tweets Into Cases: How HP Integrated Social Media Into Its International CRM System.” This presentation will be delivered on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, at 11:45 a.m.


Dave Roman is global social media support manager for HP. Roman was part of the team that integrated HP's social care efforts into its Salesforce.com CRM platform, just the third company to make that connection and one of the first to do it across multiple languages. 

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