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Customer Community CRM Integrations for Social CRM


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This paper describes how a company can integrate Lithium's social customer platform with a CRM system and customer support workflows

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Customer Community CRM Integrations for Social CRM

  1. 1. 1customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMThere is now broad recognition that how people communicate with each other andwith their favorite brands has changed. Communications are more immediate, morepublic, and more distributed. As companies focus on improving and managing the socialcustomer experience, they need to incorporate their customers’ social interactionswith internal CRM systems and processes. This paper describes how a company canintegrate Lithium’s social customer platform with a CRM system and customer supportworkflows.1The goal of this integration is to get closer to your customers and provide abetter social customer experience.Lithium provides a platform for customer communities which foster interactionsbetween customers and with the brand. We provide a complete set of social applicationsthat allow you to listen, engage, and act on your customers’ conversations, practicingbetter social CRM—creating relationships that are good for the customer and goodfor you.The integration between your online community and your CRM system drives valuealong three main dimensions: managing support cases, getting more value out of user-generated-content, and knowing your customer better. We’ll look at the social CRMworkflows across all three.what is Lithium’s Social CRM connection?This paper describes a social CRM integration from the business user’s perspective,answering questions such as: What’s possible? How does it work? How does it makethings better? Behind the scenes are Lithium’s application programming interfaces(APIs) which expose all the goodness in the community. With a little magic from aSystems Integrator, your community software can talk to your CRM software, andyour customer gets the oh-so-desirable “seamless experience.” To learn about thetechnical capabilities of our APIs, go to the Lithium Community and check out our APIdocumentation. Now, let’s get started.managing support casesYou want customers answering each other’s questions; that’s why you’re investing inyour customer community. However, the first priority is providing an excellent customerexperience, which means that if fellow customers don’t respond, your support teamshould. A social CRM connection escalates unanswered issues into support cases andwhen appropriate, routes the resolution back into the community. It does this with threemain features:1Lithium provides an integration module to connect to Salesforce CRM systems. The Salesforce CRMconnector does everything described within this paper and more. If you’d like to learn more about ourSalesforce CRM integration, check out the Resources page on
  2. 2. 2customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRM1. Incident Escalation—Automated or Manual2. Case Update / Interruption3. Post Resolution Back into the CommunityManual EscalationIn its simplest form, a post can be escalated into a support case by the communityadministrator or moderator (essentially any user who has the permissions in thecommunity to escalate to the CRM system). The concept is to create a case in the CRMsystem for posts which have not received a satisfactory or conclusive reply. When themoderator escalates a topic, there is an option to specify “Reason” and “Comments;”this data can populate the appropriate fields within the case record.Automatic EscalationYour organization may have service level agreements or response-time targets whichspecify the period of time by which a community members’ post or question will beanswered. To meet this target, Lithium can be configured to automatically escalate anunanswered post or query into the CRM system based on the time elapsed since themessage was posted.Case Update / InterruptionOnce a topic is escalated as a CRM case but before the support agent has responded,there may be replies posted under the topic within the community. It is helpful for thesupport agent to get a view of these responses and replies—so that his or her responsecan incorporate all the relevant information. Additional posts or replies may beappended to the CRM case in real-time through the Lithium APIs.Post Back Resolution to the CommunityWithin the CRM system, when a support representative resolves a particular case, he orshe may post the resolution back into the community as a threaded response under theoriginal topic; thereby closing the loop on the case.
  3. 3. 3customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMhow does it work in real life?Automated Escalation of a Case1. A customer visits the Community or self-service portal and posts their questionto the support forum.2. No one in the Community responds, and the question remains unanswered.3. After 24 hours, an automated job escalates the post and creates a case in theCRM system. Escalation triggers can be configured to any duration and canexclude posts from designated roles such as administrators or employees.4. A case is created in the CRM system and gets assigned to an agent according towhatever policies are in place.5. The agent has answered the question multiple times and resolves the customer’sissue. To minimize the number of calls on this topic, the agent captures theresponse and posts it back into the community.Manual Escalation of a Postinto a CRM CaseCustomer-Generated Article to be Pulled into CRM Knowledge Base
  4. 4. 4customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMClosed-Loop Response1. A community moderator sees a questionwith a response, but no satisfactoryanswer. She recognizes that the request isbest answered by the company’s supportteam, and escalates the case.2. A case is created in the CRM system andgets assigned to an agent according towhatever policies are in place.3. The agent struggles to answer thisdifficult question so reviews the additionalresponses that have been added to thethread. Suggestions from communityexperts help him eliminate some potential solutions and give him ideas on otherroutes to try.4. A resolution is finally discovered, and the agent posts a description of theresolution back into the community.By integrating the social web and online communities with existing workflows andinternal systems, companies can divert issues away from a paid support force andensure that customers receive excellent customer service.information sharingWe see it again and again—the majority of content created in a customer community isauthored by a few dedicated superfans. These are product gurus who spend hours eachday contributing to the greater good by answering questions and offering guidance orexplanations. Service managers can identify the very best of this community content andintegrate it into the CRM Knowledge Base for use by other agents. Federated searchcan expose content beyond the community and the support team. Customers can findcommunity-generated answers from any portal or interface through an integratedcommunity and corporate search.Like most Lithiumcapabilities, thispermission-basedfeature can be granted tosuperfans as part of thegamification concept ofreward and recognition.Entrusted superfans canescalate posts from othermembers or initiate adirect request of their ownto the support team.
  5. 5. 5customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMPromoting User Generated ContentThe Consortium for Service Innovation has research showing that the majority ofcustomer support calls are for issues that start as unknown and therefore have noknown or documented solutions. Peer-to-peer customer communities provide anexcellent source of information addressing these issues. Any topic or post on theLithium community can be transferred into the CRM system’s knowledge base where itbecomes available to support agents throughout the company.Federated SearchThe Federated search feature is enabled within the CRM system so that the businessusers may perform a combined search spanning both systems from a single locationand a single instance. The federated search may also be incorporated within a self-service portal for customers and end-users. The search is performed across allcommunity boards within a Lithium community.Customer-Generated Article to be Pulled into CRM Knowledge Base
  6. 6. 6customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMhow does It work in real life?Solved Problems Get Promoted and Incorporated Into the CRM Knowledge Base1. The Lithium system identifies high quality content through social indicators suchas peer recognition kudos, Accepted Solution tags, and Tribal Knowledge Basearticles.2. The CRM system can request top kudoed content, recent Accepted Solutions,recent TKB articles, or recent top-kudoed articles.3. Lithium provides all the relevant content for incorporation into the CRMknowledge base.4. CRM administrators can view that information in a queue of content if they wantto make case-by-case decisions on what to include, or to edit out extraneousinformation before incorporating it into the CRM knowledge base.Agent Solves a Case With a Community Generated Solution1. A customer opens a support case via phone, email, or chat.2. The agent looks for solutions in the community, finds a customer generatedsolution, and resolves the case.3. To deflect more calls in the future, the agent may send a link from the communityto the customer. This helps familiarize the customer with the peer-supportnetwork.Companies can capture the content produced by their community experts and use itto augment the company’s knowledge stores.customer intimacyMarketing, sales, and support teams in almost every organization want to know theircustomers better. CRM systems aggregate information from other applications toprovide a 360-degree view of customer accounts. Community data can enrich the CRMrecord with information that provides a direct view into that individual’s relationshipwith the brand and the company’s products. The personal yet brand-specific nature ofcommunity data can be extremely helpful to sales representatives trying to match whatthey sell to the customer’s needs. Key integrations include:
  7. 7. 7customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMMapping Community Member Profiles and Activity to CRM Customer Contact RecordsCompanies can use community demographic and behavioral data in CRM or marketingautomation tools to target customers more effectively.Synchronizing Community Member Activities and Recent Comments, Questions,and ResponsesCompanies can improve their customer knowledge and sales representatives can speakto customers on a more intimate basis when they know what the individual has read andsaid about the products.CRM Customer Contact with CommunityProfile Data Pulled InRecent Customer Activities and Posts
  8. 8. 8customer community CRM integrationsfor Social CRMhow does it work in real life?1. The CRM system matches community members to customer contacts based onthe email address or Facebook ID.2. Lithium provides the community member’s social profile to get mapped to theCRM contact record.3. On user-sync, data is sent from Lithium to the CRM system. This is uni-directional; CRM system data is not sent to Lithium.The following table highlights some of the information that can be transferred to thecontact record:community inputs to rules engine outputsThe CRM system is often integrated with a rules engine that can estimate the businessvalue of an interaction and then assign the interaction to the optimal resource. Whencombined with Lithium, the rules engine can incorporate community data as inputs toits assessment of a post’s business value. Higher value posts are typically handled byan agent, while lower value postings can be handled by community members. Moreover,customer interaction history is retained to ensure consistency if a customer jumps toalternate channels. When done well, this pairing will deflect less important calls, whichreduces support costs, and route higher value calls that present an opportunity forupsell, which can improve customer spending.Community Member Profile Information Community Participation MetricsEmail Address or Facebook ID LoginsLithium Community User Name Minutes OnlineLithium User ID Page ViewsIs User Deleted PostsRank Messages ReadRoles Private Messages SentRegistration Time Private Messages ReceivedLast Visit Time Average Message RatingBiography
  9. 9. customer community CRM integrationsfor Social | © Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.conclusionSocial CRM combines the power of online customer communities, broad socialnetworks, and traditional CRM systems to deliver a better way of managing customerrelationships. Customers in online communities and on the social web provide peer-to-peer support, brand advocacy, and new product ideas. To capitalize on these customercontributions, companies must join the conversation and participate in the social dialoghappening around them. Integrating one’s online community and CRM system providesthe most satisfying and cost effective social customer experience.about LithiumLithium helps companies unlock the passion of their customers.Lithium software powers amazing Social Customer Experiences for more than 400iconic brands including ATT, BT, Best Buy, Indosat, Sephora, Skype and Telstra.Lithium helps companies grow brand advocacy, drive sales, reduce costs and accelerateinnovation to create social communities that redefine the customer experience. Formore information, visit, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and ourown community–the Lithosphere. Lithium is privately held with corporate headquartersin San Francisco, Calif. and offices in Europe, Asia and Australia.