By Barton Goldenberg
As consumers increasingly adopt Social Media as part of their lifestyle, organizations must ask, “Can we afford not to connect with potential customers in the way that they expect to be communicated with?” The answer seems clear: Social Media will meaningfully change the way that organizations market, sell and service their customers. Opening a two-way dialogue with customers is no longer an option; it is necessary for companies to survive.
To understand what this means, consider a hypothetical customer of the future, Debbie Jones, from the perspective of a hotel chain, Happy Hotels. Using a Social CRM system, Happy Hotels can see a range of information about Debbie’s interactions with their brand, as well as about Debbie herself. This includes:
- Transactional information from back-office systems, such as how many stays Debbie has per year, average amount spent during each stay, loyalty program status, special requests, payment type, room preference and more. The may also be able to track her activities on Happy Hotel’s website, etc.
- Demographic, behavioral and lifestyle data about Debbie, gathered using 3rd party data overlays. This might include marital status, number of children, home ownership status, types of cars driven, loyalty program memberships, job changes, Web and Social Media usage and more.
We can go a step further. In Debbie’s Facebook profile, suppose she mentions that she has stayed at several Happy Hotel locations and loved her experience at each one. Perhaps some of her friends have had similar experiences. Then, let’s say Debbie and her friends have discussions in other Social Media communities about Happy Hotels. Social CRM tools allow the chain to monitor and analyze these discussions to generate relevant “social insights”. Happy Hotels can not only engage with Debbie more knowledgeably, but also engage with Debbie’s friends and potentially other members of the Social Media communities in which they participate.
Social CRM allows Happy Hotels’ employees to leverage new sales and marketing engagement tools to accurately target customers and prospects like Debbie and her friends, and to make more relevant offers to them. They can promote their hotels via each customer’s preferred channel with offers like complimentary drinks or a weekend get-away for Debbie and two of her friends. This win-win situation helps drive Debbie’s loyalty to and advocacy of Happy Hotels, resulting in increased sales from Debbie and her circle of friends.
See my next post to learn how Social Graph tools can help create a two-way dialogue with the customer of the future.
– – – – – – – — – – – – – –
Barton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.