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WEBINAR REVIEW Making the most of your social CRM with user-generated content

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Richard Anson, founder of social commerce platform business Reevoo, was our presenter for a recent Internet Retailing webinar, Making the most of your social CRM with user-generated content. During the course of the event, he guided listeners through the implementation and use of a social CRM system, including an in-depth look at how retailers had used such systems to deliver insights into their services and products.

“Social commerce is now the norm,” Richard Anson, founder of Reevoo, said as he opened the Internet Retailing webinar, Making the most of your social CRM with user-generated content. Since 89% of Europeans now read online reviews, he challenge for retailers is how to use them in their business most effectively.

Consumer behaviour today

Consumers writing reviews act both as advocates and detractors, argued Anson. Either way, the value of such reviews is clear to those who read them and those who write them. Reevoo data shows that some 14% of consumers provide reviews after making a purchase, while 54% of product owners who are members of the Reevoo community respond to a query within 24 hours.

For consumers, the key point about social content is the trust that it inspires, said Anson. He cited GMI research from March 2012 that showed that 50% of those questioned trusted reviews collected independently, compared to 23% who trusted the feedback content provided by a brand.

Anson analysed Currys data to show how consumers use a site with reviews on it. The figures showed that people reading reviews were twice as likely to purchase, while they also spent 181% more time on the site and saw 138% more page views. “There are strong benefits to the brand and to consumers from social content,” said Anson.

Challenges to brands and retailers

The financial crisis has presented challenges to retailers, who are now working in a “broadly stagnant” economy. On top of that, said Anson, consumer behaviour has changed fast, with technology inspiring new behaviours and expectations of a new and transparent relationship. The cost of customer acquisition has increased while marketing budgets are now tighter. “Today it’s about selling the right product to the right person,” said Anson. “It’s about loyalty, engagement and personalisation.”

That means there’s been a need for more sophisticated CRM systems that replace the more basic CRM data of earlier years. Such systems, said Anson, must understand what customers are saying, where they are saying it, when and why. Some argue, he said, that you don’t need old world CRM any more, but rather to understand consumer intent. His own feeling was that both were important.

How brands are using social to drive engagement and loyalty

Strong demand for social content from consumers delivers challenges but also opportunities for retailers. Strong levels of advocacy and engagement are “increasing the relevancy of your customer service,” said Anson. He cited the examples of dishwasher owners who had checked the size of plate a machine would take in order to help a social questioner. “In my house,” he said, “that would involve going upstairs, finding a tape measure, measuring a plate and measuring the machine, going back on the site to answer the question. It would take me about a month to get round to it.” But internet users do engage with such questions, acting quickly to answer them. Engagement and conversion also increase as users take part in social content on the site.

So how can such content be used? Reviews and information about customers can feed into customer communications such as micro-segmented marketing emails, said Anson.

Ratings and reviews can also be used to gain insights into customer service levels – and to spark improvements. Customers including Hertz and Cottages4You had both used customer insights in order to achieve this. In the case of the latter, holiday home owners were helped to improve the quality of their homes through feedback from the site, and from the Cottages4You team. That in turn led to improved scores in a way that is “closing the loop between advocates and detractors.”

Anson mapped out a journey to personalised engagement that started by enabling feedback such as ratings and reviews and peer-to-peer advice and went on through integrating data to deliver insights such as a 360 degree view of the customer. “There’s a hugely exciting opportunity ahead for all of us, brands, retailers and Reevoo as well,” he said.

The webinar concluded with a question and answer session, which covered areas from how retail ratings are calculated to the difference between CRM and sCRM, and the value of negative reviews.

To hear the webinar for yourself, to view the accompanying slides and hear the question and answer session in full visit the Reevoo webinar page here. To find out more about our other webinars visit this page.

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