social_crmSocial CRM is shorthand for ‘Social Customer Relationship Management’, and it is much more than just a social media marketing buzzword (or buzz-concept). While the exact wording for its definition varies across the Internet, the goal is the same for all: to develop the customer-company connection into an intimate and efficient relationship through social media. Larger companies usually add a more aggressive  “listening” component to Social CRM by using services such as Nimble and Salesforce.com to parse social media streams and find out what people are specifically saying, but don’t let this fool you into thinking this is only ‘a big-business thing.’ Good social customer care can help your small business stand out and increase customer loyalty and rate of return. 

First, let’s take a look at some numbers from Nielsen’s State of Social Media 2012 Report

  • On average, 47% of social media users engage in social customer care
  • Of that average, 9% of users referred to social care on a daily basis,
  • 21% on a weekly basis, and 70% on a monthly basis
  • One in three social media users prefer social customer care to talking on the phone on average
  • 50% of social media users express concerns and/or complaints about products or services on social media 

Social care is becoming more and more of an expectation rather than an additional bonus that businesses offer. Due to the ease and informality of communication in social media, it is easy to see how people would prefer Tweeting at a company over picking up the phone and possibly talking to an automated answering machine. But don’t just take it from us; take it from the numbers above!

How does this apply to small business owners? Great question! The answer is two-fold: First, Small businesses, by nature, are already good at doing business in a personalized way. Second, where the financial costs of social care are minimal, the rewards are large. When we say this, we mean that social care gives small business owners the ability to conduct customer service in a place where everyone can see and appreciate the time and work put into it. It can even make customer service easier if, for example, the issue or problem in question has already been asked and answered on your company Facebook wall. Here are some examples of how we do this at Leaf

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Today’s consumer is social-savvy and is hyper-informed. She can express her opinion about anything to her entire range of friends and connections. He can find answers and information on almost anything within seconds thanks to the Internet. Fast, easy, and personalized is the new way to keep your customers happy, engaged, and loyal. Ramon Ray, of smallbiztechnology.com, nailed it when he wrote “Social CRM is the new mint on the pillow”. Will you be that hotel that doesn’t leave mints, or will you be the one remembered for your awesome customer care?