Brands tap social media to build efficient business models

Brands are increasingly looking at innovative ways to integrate data from social media to enhance customer service experience, and build consumer base

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Nov 21, 2014 8:00 AM
Brands tap social media to build efficient business models

With the unprecedented growth of social in day-to-day life, manning online conversations is becoming one of the key research elements for brands in order to tap consumer interests, behavior and feedback. One of the biggest opportunities to brands is integrating online conversations (social media, blogs, forums, etc.) with internal CRM.

Manning the web

According to Avinash Parhi, General Manager (Operations Excellence), YepMe, Integration with CRM helps in improving the turnaround time (TAT) for offline channels that earlier may not have been aware of the online complaint but because of the integration are alerted and can either send acknowledgement to customer or quickly resolve their issue.

“If queries remain unanswered or the turnaround time is up to 2-3 days, responding thereafter becomes a futile exercise on social media. Integration with CRM, providing tickets, and taking complaints offline can help brands reduce the domino effect of complaints by more than 50 per cent,” said Mukta Jhamb, Head Cybernet at Bharti Airtel.

Revenue booster

Another untapped opportunity is using social media for generating revenue. Instead of using social media as just another marketing tool, brands are increasingly realizing the gravity of social media’s penetration in a nation like India. 

“Social media largely viewed as a marketing tool and at best for lead generation but not to generate revenue,” said Kanika Mittal, Head - Marketing and Brand Communications at Reebok India.

At a panel discussion hosted by Akosha, marketers in insurance and consumer appliances shared inputs on how they found it useful for conducting targeted marketing. Videocon, AmEx serve as noteworthy examples.

HCL has effectively used social media to build mindshare, generate leads and for indirect revenue generation. The HCL campaign #RBAC - Relationship beyond contract using social media to reach B2B clients and build brand equity is one such initiative by the company. HCL created a short video featuring a father-son relationship, which was released on YouTube and got a massive two million views, 100 per cent organic. Another recruitment campaign, #CoolestInterviewEver won the company a lot of awards for conducting a totally innovative campaign in which they hired people directly from their twitter feeds.

Dell has also been recognized as a trailblazer in using social media to generate leads. IBM has also given social media agent’s unique personalities, and not just a common boring handle to help them better connect with the audience.

Customer service as “cost center”

According to Manas Malik, Senior Manager, Operations at Jabong, there are five R outcomes of Customer Service: Reputation, Retention, Repetition, Referral and Research. Brands need to rethink the old notion of customer service as “cost center”.

“Favorable 'word of mouth' mentions are a powerful marketing tool on social media. Customer service departments can be an important enabler in this regard. Dell has received positive online feedback for the prompt response of its customer service team to complaints,” he said.

“Technology needs to be complemented with personalization. The tone of customer service has changed in the last six months from transactional to friendly and conversational. Instead of giving scripts which make representatives sound robotic, give guidelines and hints on how to handle different customer types.

“Customer service can build brand loyalists; and also be used for upselling and cross selling opportunities. They can aggregate ARPU and also critical consumer and competitive research that can help in product development,” he pointed out.

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