Aligning your social service strategy with your traditional one

Many of you say you need a “social CRM” strategy. However, much like the evolution of eService as just another way of doing customer service, to be successful in the long run, you should look at social channels as part of your overall service strategy, and make sure that your brand remains consistent across all the communication that you have with your customers. This means that you should look to provide similar experiences on Twitter, as you do on the phone.

How do you go about determining what social channels you want to engage in? It’s best to take a two-pronged approach that involves both monitoring and moderating.

From company to company, the social channels to monitor vary. Loosely defined, these should be any communities where your customers express emotions and opinions about brands, products and their service experiences – like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter; rating and review sites like Amazon and Yelp; open source communities; and/or popular industry publications and blogs that solicit reader input. Ask your customers where they engage on-line. You can learn a lot about customer perception of your brand, products and services from monitoring these communities. And, you can translate these learnings into, for example product/service capabilities that are better aligned with your customer base or organizational changes to better service your customers. Monitoring activities do have a real ROI.

In addition to monitoring activities, you should also decide what social channels you want to moderate in order to engage with your customer base – like company-sponored forums/blogs. Successes include ComcastCares Twitter profile as a viable customer service channel. Dell’s Idea Storm discussion board helps the company gauge which product ideas are most important and most relevant to their customers. After registering, users are able to add, promote, demote and comment on product innovation ideas.

Whichever route you choose, you will need to realign your people, processes and technology to ensure that the experience across all your touchpoints – traditional or social, remain consistent and in alignment with your brand.