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Managing the customer journey with social CRM

 Last week Sage CRM attended and presented at Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A 2014), a conference where marketing professionals come in their hordes to find out how innovative technology can be implemented to ensure customers get the optimum brand experience.

Every year we hear from experts across the industry at the show, from B2B analytics to digital media production and>we’re presented with a multitude of insights on how to engage with and maintain customers

One point we all agree on is that achieving the optimum customer experience goes far beyond the point of purchase. The experience starts from the moment a customer hears about a brand. This may be through word of mouth, clicking on to an organisation’s website or following a brand on Twitter. It’s managing the customer’s entire journey from that first engagement with a brand, right through to buying a product or service that makes their experience good or bad. The bottom line is that brands cannot afford for any part of that journey to be second-rate.

Every part of the journey is important

According to Market Probe International, 72 per cent of people are more likely to make a future purchase from a small and medium sized company after they follow or interact with them on Twitter. On top of that, a further 82 per cent of social media users are more likely to recommend a company they follow to friends and family. We’re all aware of the impact of social media and how important brand engagement is, and so understanding how to manage a customer’s experience from start to finish is integral to make and maintain customer relationships.

One of the fundamental challenges of ensuring a customer has a good experience is being aware of a customer’s history with a brand. Keeping track of who a customer is, what their last purchase was, as well as their last interaction with the company can be difficult, unless it’s managed by a Social CRM solution.

Get ahead with social

Social CRM allows businesses to start engaging with customers and prospects across key social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. By incorporating social media into sales, marketing and customer service activities, new leads can be uncovered. More frequent and personal touch points with customers can improve the overall experience.

A common misconception is that CRM will replace the functionality of other business applications an organisation already has in place. On the contrary, it’s in CRM’s nature to be flexible and integrate other applications to provide one single view. Every business should have a CRM solution and should be considering (or have) a social strategy to engage in more meaningful conversations with their customers. After all, by 2016 Gartner predicts more than 1.5 billion people will use social networks and businesses need to leverage this platform for customer and prospect engagement.

Integrating social media activity with CRM can make it easier to gain valuable customer insights and build mutually-rewarding customer relationships. However, an investment in CRM software will only be partially realised if there is not a matching customer strategy in place.  Harnessing social media is an essential part of your business’ customer strategy and key to keeping customers.

For more information on the right CRM solution for your business, contact the Sage CRM team.