Within each social media channel, identify and profile the local customer heroes-presenting only a Twitter handle within a Facebook page doesn't cut it). Customer heroes should have credibility scores based on the number of posts they have, and those scores should be part of that person's Contact record in the CRM. When it's time for new product introductions, both marketing and engineering will want to know the heroes in each channel for early testimonials and testbeds, respectively.
3. Extinguish the Fire Before It's a Firestorm.
Internet discussion boards and social networks collect and foment customer reactions at light speed. You don't want to be blindsided by a firestorm of negatives, particularly if Google News happens to notice it and alerts your competitors.
Support, then, needs real-time monitoring for sentiment of customer posts and questions in social networks and the blogosphere. While a range of products conduct reputation monitoring, most tend to focus on the corporate brand. What's needed for support and service is a sharper focus on particular product names and keywords that relate to areas where defects could be suspected-"Volt" and "battery fire," for a completely innocuous example.
Case Study: How Citibank Uses Twitter to Improve Customer Service
When the social network monitoring engine identifies a new trending issue, the CRM cases should be queried to match against tags and keywords. In this way, support becomes an active part of the early warning system-and can provide information to help put out the fire-right in the medium where the situation is developing.
Part of the puzzle is identifying the mavens and what they are saying. Because mavens have the widest reach, you need to identify who has the loudest voices when it comes to your products. This requires a lot of data mining, but it can be automated and correlated with CRM data to improve your company's leverage within the community. For example, if you find a key customer who's a maven, you can auto-create a case for any of her Tweets and automatically escalate the case following that customer's SLA-even before that customer has even contacted your support team.
Of course, all these goodies don't come off the shelf from any vendor. For the next few quarters, this is integration and coding territory.
4. Support Is the New Sales.
Support staff have more continuous conversations with customers than sales reps do. Your best intelligence on emerging needs and therefore upsells will come from the support, training and consulting teams.
How-to: Get Customer-Driven Data From Your CRM System