Socialising with your customers

David Green, ‎head of UK software operations at GBGroup speaks to Talk Retail about how retailers need to start socialising with their customers.

How do you start socialising with your customers?

The introduction of smartphone technology and a new online generation has fuelled the explosion of social media adoption across the globe.  While most retailers have embraced social media in some form, many have been limited in using it to its fullest potential. But all that is set to change and data is at the heart of this transformation. 

15 years ago, updating a customer record was as simple as updating a postal address or telephone number. Further down the line, mobile and email have greatly increased in value as the main point of contact with customers. Far too many companies have little idea how their current customers and their prospective audience use social media. For many, a lack of a clear social strategy is a hindrance. This does not mean posting on social media or setting up an online presence, but intelligently engaging with customers through the platform.

Rather than searching for success via vague measures of engagement, businesses need to focus on traditional sales and marketing goals; precise targeting increased income and profit, or improved customer support.

As well as the strategic disconnect, social media marketing and service are often isolated from other CRM activity at an operational and systems level. Coping with inbound queries or messaging typically involves costly manual processes and the customer intelligence that social undoubtedly offers is rarely used to influence other channel interactions.

Many retailers are already building social sharing into the omni-channel experience. However, to derive maximum benefit from social, customers’ social data must be recorded, then used to optimally manage interactions. Social media offers incredibly rich information on the preferences, behaviour and identity of hundreds of millions of individuals. Profile data, combined with the views and opinions that they share and the pictures, events – and brands – that users comment on, are spontaneous expressions of lifestyle preferences and interests.

Even better, social data is arguably the most up-to-date customer information available. When combined with other data sources such as transactional history and web behaviour, it has the potential to drive unparalleled outbound targeting accuracy across e-commerce.

Social creates a vast amount of unique opportunities for businesses to contact their customers in the most personal medium available. But to establish this contact, organisations need to accurately capture customer contact data volunteered at the point of registration with their unique social user IDs, enabling businesses to better understand their customers’ identity and behaviour which will prove valuable for marketing campaigns further down the line.

With social media projected to increase in marketing value year-on-year, it’s time for businesses to start socialising with their customers.

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