For a while now, we’ve all heard that technology is driving people apart. Rather than shopping at the local store, we order online. Instead of playing sports, we play video games. Many of us don’t even go out to movies anymore, opting to wait until we can stream them at home. In fact, our lack of human connection has become so prevalent that online dating is now a two-billion-dollar industry.
There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud. As technology pushes us apart, so too can it draw us together. People are now used to others knowing their personal data and accessing their public profiles. This single change in our way of thinking makes it possible for you to know your customers better than ever before. Here are five ways today’s technology is making these surprisingly close relationships a reality.
1. Customer profiles. Just like the profiles customers create for themselves on social media, we can now generate individual profiles for both potential and existing customers. These profiles start with each client’s social network data, their web searches related to your products, and their visits to your website. Every time a customer comments on your social profiles, views your products online, or engages with customer service, your knowledge of who they are grows.
2. New opportunities. Another benefit of customer profiles is their ability to generate new leads for your sales and marketing teams. Profiles that are less fleshed out than those of your return clients are really potential customers waiting to be won over. If you notice an individual who’s viewed your website a number of times and hovered over an item or two, it might be the right time to drop them a line or offer a discount on an item they’re interested in. Personalize their journey a bit and they just might become your newest return customer.
3. Social engagement. Individual customer profiles are fantastic when approaching people one on one, but when you want to speak to your entire audience you need a broader perspective. Social listening and engagement allows you to monitor sentiment at a glance across multiple channels and languages. This way, you’ll know how people feel about, say, pumpkins, right when you need to. Share that knowledge with your development and advertising teams and you could clean up come next fall.
4. Cloud-based knowledge. Speaking of sharing data, by housing your customer profiles and sentiment metrics in the cloud, you empower your entire team. Customer service can detect wavering sentiment on individual networks like Twitter or Pinterest and reach out. Sales can gauge an individual customer’s interest level and contact them when they’re ready to buy. Even your retail locations benefit, allowing your staff to greet customers by name and show them items their purchase history indicates they may be interested in.
5. Social selling. When you’re meeting with a new customer, it’s great to be introduced by a mutual friend. Identify potential customers that you share a contact with, and you’ll be starting your new relationship on that same strong foundation. Just like the clients you have profiles on already, you’ll want to learn everything you can about these new prospects. If you gather the proper insights into your new customers, their needs, and their routines, you’ll be perfectly set up to become that new friend they feel like they’ve known for years.
Strong connections don’t form themselves these days, but with the right technology at your back you just might find that you can create closer customer relationships than you have before. You can even start today.
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