A Facebook Page is Not Enough: An Intro to Social CRM Done Right

By: Guest Blogger

April 19, 2016

Social Engagement
social listening
social media

By: Kristopher Bober, Social Media Practice Lead – Accenture Interactive

Your customers are asking you questions regardless of whether you, as a brand, are responding or not. Only once you join a conversation can you have an effect on its direction and shape the conversation around your brand or product. But the real challenge of doing this comes when companies are unable to answer their customers in as near real-time as possible.

Customers now expect a reply almost immediately. According to Ovum, 66% of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour and 56% of consumers want a response within 30 minutes. Gartner research shows that not answering customers on social channels can even lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers. Simply put, your customers want to be acknowledged.

But social customer relationship management (CRM) isn’t just about having conversations on social media or writing blogs for your company website. Social CRM is built around the process of communicating and engaging across online communities. The conversations can take place on individual social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or in blogs, forums, and third party review sites. A strong social engagement strategy allows businesses to remain in constant contact with their customers by providing excellent social care, advancing brand interests, and responding to feedback in a seamless cycle.

Social CRM can help alleviate costs across other areas of your business as well. In fact, studies show that social customer care costs around $1 per interaction while phone. And, according to Ovum, 70% of consumers would use channels other than the phone if they felt confident they could get resolution on the first attempt.

So how do you get there?
Being able to effectively engage with your customers is only really possible when your efforts are an integral part of your brand’s social CRM program, and with that, your brand’s larger customer experience strategy.

When done right, social CRM is both a mind-set and a business strategy. It allows a brand and customer to have a collaborative, one-to-one relationship. In order for it to work, it is a philosophy that needs to be supported by technology, people, and business processes across the organization. Think of social CRM as a key business function, no different from the Sales, Support, or Marketing departments in a company.

What does great social CRM look like?
The difference between good and great social CRM is when a company facilitates a personal one-to-one dialogue. Customers aren’t looking for a brand to simply push out a template response over social media. This is not a good idea. It screams of a company that just wants to tick the “social engagement” box. It is apathetic and detrimental to creating long-lasting customer relationships.

Also, be aware that customers aren’t looking for you to just use social channels to push your own content. Social CRM isn’t meant to be self-serving. Sure, there will be some extent of self-promotion, but focus more on providing meaningful, educational resources, and of course, a real-time conversation that fosters trust and transparency.

Brands need to be able to understand a customer from across all the channels they communicate from, social or otherwise. Be sure to pull in all your customer data into a central hub that’s accessible by social care, front-line, and customer service teams across your company. This gives your reps a history and profile of each customer, allowing you to have richer conversations where you can cite past experiences. Your customers want to feel like you know them.

Why do so many companies struggle to get it right?

  • Awareness: Many companies don’t even know when or where their customer conversations, complaints, feedback, and questions are taking place in the social space.
  • Empowerment and scale: People in customer service roles across the company need to be empowered and trained on how to embrace social tools and respond, in the right tone, at scale to conversations. They need to have the proper technology and tools in place, as well as the proper training and skillset.
  • Strategy: Companies struggle with how to build their social strategy into their larger business vision and strategy. Many companies also need guidance on how to adapt business processes so that they can effectively integrate their social and customer data.

How can you get started with social CRM?
The best way to get started with your social CRM program is to define the need and identify a champion within your organization that believes in the value of social. Also consider employees who share your enthusiasm and vision for leveraging social to solve customer needs. Once resources have been secured, define and execute a small pilot program and work toward creating a business case to present to leadership for expansion.

As your social team grows and matures, make sure you have the key foundations to scale. You need to:

  • Set roles and responsibilities and provide effective training.
  • Outline clear metrics and reward people for doing a good job.
  • Implement the technology and tools needed to quickly respond to customers on all social channels
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.
  • Benchmark and track results in order to learn and improve over time. This also allows you to figure out how you can be more efficient at customer care.

Social media has conditioned and empowered users to expect immediate feedback. The risk of a brand failing to meet these expectations goes beyond losing customers; it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Unless brands get social engagement right, it can drown out their entire customer experience strategy. As a result, brands are looking to better understand this new reality of customer care and what best practices to adopt in order to optimize their existing customer care teams.


About Kristopher Bober
Kristopher is a Senior Manager and North America Lead in Accenture Digital’s Social Media practice. Kristopher’s experience includes advising clients how to best leverage and integrate social media to deliver end-to-end customer centric and omni-channel solutions that drive business transformation, and guide priorities and investments. Kristopher provides a blend of strong social business acumen, technology-driven expertise, and deep professional consulting knowledge to Fortune 500 organizations across numerous industries to include Consumer Package Goods, Automotive, Media and Communications, Finance, Industrial Manufacturing, Technology, Healthcare, and Travel and Hospitality.


Clarabridge’s blog, Sentiments, helps businesses incorporate customer sentiment and feedback into their business strategy. Published by Clarabridge, Sentiments speaks to customer experience professionals, marketers, customer care leaders and anyone who wants to make informed, strategic decisions that delight customers. Follow Sentiments on Twitter @Clarabridge.