Don’t get caught up in thinking that customer relationship management is just for those big box store brands. As it stands, managing the relationship you have with customers can make or break your business. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or something in between, I’m willing to bet that you’re wanting your business to succeed–and customer relationship management is key. Sure you can invest in expensive CRM software, but remember that all the software in the word can’t take the place of YOU.

One of the best place to manage your customer relationships? Social media. I’m not saying that managing relationships on social media is ideal–I’m just saying that it’s necessary. Once you know what is being said about your company online, you can join in the conversation, better manage relationships with your customers, and hopefully obtain new customers in the process. If you’re new to social media, or you’re not sure where to begin, look into tools like Tagboard, SocialMention, or TweetBinder. These tools can help you search many different social networks for keywords or hashtags that may contain information about your business. Once you know what people are saying about you, you can begin to better manage relationships with your customers. Here’s how:
Dive Into the Conversation: Chances are that if you’ve never looked up what people are saying about your business online, some of it may not be pretty. Your first instinct might be to get upset, but take a step back, gain some perspective, and then type up your (calm) response. Even a simple “thank you for your feedback” or a “we’re sorry you had that experience” can go a long way in managing relationships with your customers in the online sector.
Don’t Delete Comments: It may be tempting to delete a nasty comment or a bad (or even average) review to make your company look better. However, that’s not good in terms of customer relationship management. Your customer base, which may include people who have had a less than perfect experience with you, is very important. Therefore, unless there is a comment on your page that is offensive, racist, or in otherwise poor taste–DO NOT DELETE. According to research by CRM software company RightNow, 1 out of 3 consumers who receive a retailer response to their online complaint actually repost a positive review.
Take Relationships Offline: When it comes to exceptional customer service, there’s a lot more to making your customers feel good about giving you their business than a kind reply to their online comments. When possible, take an opportunity to connect with your online customers off of social media. Email them a discount should they come into your brick and mortar store. Communicate with them by eNewsletter. The more touchstones you can offer your customers, the more your relationship with them will improve.
If you want to give customers a good service experience, start by managing online customer relationships through social media. Once you know what is being said about your company online, you can improve your customer experience like never before.