Beyond Social Media: CRM Tools to Connect With Customers Faster

 If you’ve ever posted a complaint on a companies’ Twitter page and wondered why you didn’t hear a response from a representative, chances are your words were lost among the trillions of tweeters. A study by LiveOps says that 70 percent of the complaints on Twitter and Facebook are ignored by customer service. According to Heather Somerville, of MercuryNews.com, this study shows it takes at least two days for customer support to respond to comments posted to their social media networks. The study also showed that rather than deal with a customer’s complaint or question, most retailers will delete the post on their Facebook profile. Somerville says that companies want to provide good support, but they lack the technology to respond to customers in a timely manner. Cloud-based customer support software still reigns supreme as the tool that connects representatives with prospects. TJ McCue, author of Small Business Trends, suggests the following CRM apps, to help reps strengthen their relationship with customers.

InfusionSoft

McCue calls InfusionSoft the leader in CRM marketing software. Instead of sending a single auto-reply to customers, it helps you to tailor a sequence of follow-up answers for the specific customer. Moving beyond email, this tool allows reps to respond to questions fast via voicemail, fax and chat. Locate the leads that’ll be sure to bite with InfusionSoft’s scoring tool and strike while the iron’s hot.

BatchBook

BatchBook lets you view a customers Facebook profile, blog posts, Twitter page and Google plus account all in one database. You can store communication histories, keep track of customer details and import customer data from spreadsheets or webforms. Get a 30-day free trial or sign up for one of their annual plans and enjoy two months of BatchBook for free.

SalesForce

Still a popular choice in online CRM tools, SalesForce is the SaaS (software-as-a-service) that’s built for making sales. Customize a dashboard that will report the information you’ll need to increase conversions and bring revenue in. Since they acquired Jigsaw, a contact crowdsource that will grab prospects based on demographics, financial status and history of purchases, the only direction for SalesForce has been up.

SmartSheet Sales Pipeline

With SmartSheet, you can connect with reps and track all sales as they’re moving through the pipeline. View every opportunity, estimate each value of a deal, follow steps of a sale from contact to close. Create team tasks, production calendars, reports and Gantt Charts all on this cloud-based platform. This tool makes collaboration a snap, allowing project managers and reps to share files, and has a mobile app available for download at the iTunes Store.

If your business is expanding beyond the point of manageability, don’t throw your hands up in despair. Try one — or all four — of these cloud-based CRM platforms.

Photo by Flickr user Simone Lovati

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