What is the ROI of social customer relationship management? Increased customer engagement? Message amplification? Traffic referrals? While there is no one indicator for success, many would argue that converting prospectives into customers is key. In order to monetize the customer experience, businesses must cultivate and leverage customer relationships. 

3 Critical Steps for Identifying Shifts in Customer Behavior

To help us better understand how customer relationships can fulfill transactional goals, we turned to MetraTech, which offers an innovative approach to billing, compensation and customer care. MetraTech’s relationship monetization solution enables companies to quickly react and adapt to industry change and monetize complex, relationship-based agreements among customers, suppliers and channels within any payment business model.

If a Social CRM could integrate with a billing application, it could model the full details of established agreements and monetize those relationships. Most companies are pretty adept at building and managing customer relationships, but their CRM systems aren’t necessarily flexible enough to integrate with the applications involved in helping to monetizing those relationships.

A few months ago Steve McKee of Business Week wrote about How Social Media Is Changing CRM. After years of unsuccessfully manipulating, minimizing and monetizing customers over the years, McKee successfully surmises that:

"Customer relationships aren’t built on information, they’re built on trust. And relationships are reciprocal; I’ll share with you my deep thoughts if you’ll share yours with me. When one party focuses too much on acquiring and leveraging information, trust can’t help but be compromised, if not breached. The problem with traditional CRM is that it turns people into data and relationships into rules of engagement."

I couldn’t agree more. And Curt Raffi, Director SaaS Product Marketing & Customer Success at MetraTech thinks so, too. Companies who are too quick to convert customers into sales don’t take the time to get to know their customer. If they did, they would better understand the right times to target customers based on specific behaviors and actions. During our discussion, Mr. Raffi described three critical steps for how companies can analyze these behaviors to identify real-time shifts in customer behavior and to facilitate stronger connections between customer, products, pricing, promotions and sales.

  1. Understand the Behaviors of Your Industry and Your Customers

    Social is as social does, and the behaviors of your industry or customers are indicative of how and what they want to buy. But, tracking user behavior is more than just what and when they buy -- it’s also about what the customer did before he bought and how he used the product throughout its lifecycle. When companies analyze this kind of sub-transactional data, they are able to use this information to predict the customer’s future purchasing behavior, making it easier to offer discounts and promotions when customers are more likely to buy.
  2. User Experience and Cross Platform App Development

    Earlier this month, we talked about how to create a universal customer experience. Raffi says that in order to create a universal experience across platforms and media, the user experience must follow the user. Considering that there are many devices through which a consumer can engage with your brand or product, it’s important to understand the transactional and sub-transactional goals of each.

    This type of data allows companies to identify when customers begin to use your solutions less frequently or when they are about to make specific mistakes using your application. By analyzing this information companies can fine-tune the user experience to lead to more engaged customers.
  3. The Relationship Between Context and Monetization

    If you’re able to effectively track and monitor user behaviors across platforms, and create messaging that accurately serves the needs of the user, successful monetization will result. By tracking users’ clickstream behaviors companies can access real-time, in-app messaging or make offers to customers based on their specific behavior patterns.

    Context-based discovery and social behaviors play a role in bringing relevant content to susceptible audiences. Tailoring interaction between an active and willing participant and companies with offers that are relevant to them can help drive more revenue.

Raffi reminds us that in the end it’s not a mobile experience or a desktop experience, it’s a USER experience. As such, using a Social CRM to track the behaviors of users to create unique experiences can be more lucrative for companies than creating superficial, persona-based experiences. By leveraging how customers speak through their purchases and usage patterns companies can unlock a better model for monetizing the customer relationship. 

Image courtesy of Bagiuiani (Shutterstock)