5 Social Customer Care Tips to Connect @CrypticNames with @KnownCustomers

The writing is on the wall at Facebook—and loud and clear in Twitter feeds. Social has emerged as a preferred channel for customers to seek service and resolve issues. Whether they’re @mentioning a company directly, or #venting frustrations to their friends and followers, they expect their voices to be heard.

Leading brands like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Activision, and HP have redefined their service model in response to the changing landscape. Through platforms like Social Studio and Service Cloud, they are able to rapidly detect, route and respond to millions of service-related conversations each year.

Yet social customer care is not without its challenges. Like more traditional service options, delivering a seamless customer experience requires agents to have a single view of the customer. While this may be obvious, connecting ambiguous social identities to carefully curated CRM data can be tricky.

Why Don’t You Know Me?

Suppose your company manufactures and distributes PCs, and your service organization receives an @mention tweet from @CrypticName stating ‘Laptop overheating again. Presentation tomorrow. So frustrated! #DoNotBuy’

It’s the perfect opportunity for a social agent to save the day, right?

But what model does the customer have? When was it purchased? Is it still under warranty? Has the customer contacted service before? How and when? What other products does he/she own?

Of course, a quick check of your CRM platform would provide all of these details. But without the ability to associate @CrypticName with a specific customer record, the agent must start from scratch—greatly increasing the likelihood of further upsetting an already stressed out, socially savvy customer.

The Building Blocks of Social Identity CRM Success

Associating social identities to CRM records is a building process. The best approaches use every customer interaction—regardless of channel or stage in the customer lifecycle—as an opportunity to connect the dots. Let’s take a look at some options you can use. 

1. Ask and Ye Might Receive

Customers are accustomed to providing an email address or phone number as a unique identifier. Are you requesting social handles as a standard part of every interaction you have with them? How about during support? Or better yet, even earlier—do your online purchase forms include fields for social identifiers? Your product registration process? Surveys?

If you haven’t done so already, this is a great reason to map your customer journey. It will identify all critical touch points across the customer lifecycle, and very likely reveal new opportunities to connect social identities to data already stored in your CRM platform. 

2. Partner with Marketing

One of the most successful tactics for acquiring social identities includes dedicated campaigns. Offers of enhanced loyalty program status, discounts and coupons, sweepstakes entries, or social-only offers often persuade people to grant permission.

From a sales and marketing perspective, the ability to correlate social profile information with purchase histories and support cases unlocks a wealth of data. And with the use of sentiment analysis technologies, they can get trending insights into what customers are saying about your brand, products, and competitors.

3. Leverage Social Log-ins

If your website includes options for customers to log-in, including the ability to sign-in via a social profile benefits all parties involved. It’s faster and easier than setting up a new ID specific to the website, and users are less likely to forget their credentials from a frequently-used social media platform. Best of all, with the proper permissions, you and your peers are able to obtain certain personal information about the visitor from the social media platform.

4. Automate Social Data Feeds

If your key CRM platforms—like those for service, marketing, sales and social—are built with open APIs, data captured within one system can easily flow into others. For example, if a customer receives an email from marketing inviting her to a webinar, and she registers on your website with her Facebook log-in, you’ve just solved another mystery. Of course your CMO wants that data—but so do you. Keep it flowing with your APIs!

5. Kick Start with Third-party Data

There are significant privacy issues when it comes to acquiring consumer social data. These vary greatly by geography, and its paramount that each organization adheres to a carefully crafted privacy policy.

For those focused on the U.S. B2B space, solutions like Data.com can include social profiles for business contacts. Various options include up to 50 million records, with company name, contact name, email, and phone number, plus social handles from platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Don't be Anti-Social

While there is no magic solution for associating social identities with CRM records, it’s never too late to start. Use every interaction throughout the
customer lifecycle—regardless of channel—and you’ll soon be on your way to turning @CrypticNames into @KnownCustomers.

About the Author

Brett Weigl is Director, Product Management for Salesforce Service Cloud. Brett owns Social Customer Service, Salesforce Knowledge, and overall integration between Marketing & Service Cloud to deliver seamless experiences. Previously, Brett led product management for ExactTarget’s Social Products team. Brett has a 20-year background working with enterprise brands to deliver amazing experiences for their customers, including 8 years in product management.

For 8 simple steps to transforming your social customer service, download the free Salesforce e-book.

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