Content is no longer king on WeChat. As WeChat evolves, and more content creators join the platform, users are becoming more and more selective on what they read. Given the ever-changing habits of users, it’s inevitable for brands to adjust their strategy as needed — instead of using WeChat as a broadcasting tool to raise mass awareness, brands are now positioning it more as a customer service tool. Wechat is able to collect users’ data from various frontiers such as social media, online payment, games, e-commerce…; in combination with its nature as a one-on-one communication tool, Wechat has become an important hub for managing customer relationship across online platforms.
In this article, you will learn about the concept of “social CRM (Customers Relationship Management” and how to utilize Wechat for your CRM strategy,
WHAT IS SOCIAL CRM?
Social CRM is the combination of the use of social media services and technologies to help brands gain a better understanding of their customers. This knowledge, when utilized correctly, enables a more personal marketing approach and quicker customer support, leading to the improvement of the overall user experience. This is a powerful tool to turn social media followers into customers, building/ maintaining their loyalty and raising conversion rate.
In recent years, brands taking advantage of social CRMs have seen multiple benefits:
• They keep close contact with their customers: with social CRM, brands can keep followers informed of news, campaigns, or discounts; resolve their questions and problems instantly and more effectively.
• They understand their customers more deeply: social CRM allows brands to listen to customers’ stories and interests – a key to build healthy relationships with them.
• They have higher ROI: by tracking and analyzing social behaviors of followers, brands can formulate a strategy to generate higher sales volume and convert social customers to brand advocates.
• They raise engagement: Using segmentation and targeting methods and tools, brands can enhance the engagement level of customers, impacting both the vitality of the community of followers and the business results.
WHAT IS WECHAT CRM?
WeChat CRM is a kind of Social CRM with a particular focus on the WeChat platform.
With the near absence of emails and SMS in China as marketing channels, many brands started their CRM strategy with WeChat as the main hub. WeChat is one of the most valuable social platforms in China, which gives brands the possibility to connect any web-based mobile site with WeChat (Brand website, campaign mini-sites, e-commerce online shops…) and centralize data from those platforms.
Wechat’s ecosystem covers almost all daily activities
If you are new to Wechat, read this guide for the overview of this powerful platform.
HOW TO INTEGRATE WECHAT INTO YOUR CRM STRATEGY
1. Collect & analyze customer data to create a 360 degree view of them
Analytics is a source of crucial information for brands wishing to optimize their marketing ROI. WeChat owns invaluable data for businesses – the rich content (text, video, audio) users sent to your official account, the banners users clicked on, transactions they make, and QR code tracking, media they consume… This data can be synced with your offline CRM to create a 360 degree view of each customer.
Create a 360 degree user view
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However, WeChat’s native backend system has some limitations:
- Very limited data reporting and analytics
- Not easy to send targeted messages to segmented groups
- Can’t schedule campaigns based on a specific schedule
Compared to WeChat’s default backend, social CRM tools offer advanced capabilities to provide you with better understanding of customers by tracking and monitoring every interaction of customers with the brand across Wechat ecosystem.
There are some social CRM tools on the market which you can check out:
You can also build your own tool based on your specific needs in terms of data and marketing strategies.
The below screenshot from the American retailer Coach is an example of basic sCRM. Every customer who subscribes to the account will be greeted with a customized welcome message asking them to provide more information to become a member. The information that Wechat requires from users for registration is quite limited. So, this simple but creative action helps brands identify better their target customers and makes it easier for segmentation later.
2. Use consumer insights to personalize their experience
More information about customer’s demographics, interests and behaviors being gathered in a mindful way would allow you to design an optimal approach to retain and convert your social media followers.
This data can be processed to segment followers into different groups of individuals. To which personalized content/ ads/ campaigns can be sent.
You can also identify your customers’ purchasing habits and tailor your ads to their buying behavior with customized offers.
Or use segmenting and labels to remind customers to restock based on purchases they’ve made in the past.
Pushing right content to the right people at the right time is important to improve the user experience at every touchpoint with brands and in return, increase marketing ROI and business results for brands.
Optimize customer interaction across Wechat’s different services
Additionally, Wechat CRM tool should be able to provide data reporting and analytics:
- Conversion rate, retention rate, bounce rate
- Impact of each touch point in WeChat sales funnel
- Performance of marketing campaigns
- Custom dashboards
3. Retarget your followers with O2O marketing
Chinese consumers value the convenience. Either in online or offline spheres, they expect businesses to understand them as a person instead of 2D transactions and offer them what they tend to like. That says a fully integrated omni-channel experience across online and offline channels is the key to gaining, converting and maintaining customers.
54 per cent of luxury Chinese shoppers say that an omni-channel shopping experience is “non-negotiable” (BCG Global Consumer Insight).
Wechat CRM strategies shoud be designed to help you with that.
Imagine when a customer goes to your store and buys something, if his/ her data is already recorded by your store database earlier, you can then connect him/her to your Wechat CRM (by asking them to scan your Wechat QR code for example) to continue tracking their online activities, engaging further with them at a personal level and pushing them to purchase again with suitable discounts or offers. In another case, if salesmen have some data about how a customer has been interacting with the company around Wechat before that such as articles read, banners clicked on, campaigns participation…, they would know how to serve him/her better when this customer come to the stores.
Wechat CRM is a powerful tool allowing brands with an offline presence to increase engagement and create seamless connections from offline to online.
The German fashion brand MCM utilized the power of sCRM for their pop-up shop in China. To identify the subscribers who might be interested in attending, the brand looked at their user’s WeChat activities — clicks on articles from official WeChat accounts, their activity on Mini Programs, as well as transactions on WeChat e-commerce. After the event, MCM targeted its VIP customers that had attended the pop-up, and invited them to a “VVIP” event, where they could enjoy an enhanced coffee-making experience. The result of this multi-layered, targeted campaign, which brought followers from online to offline, was a deeper relationship with them — far beyond the digital world of WeChat.
4. Chatbot as the personal assistant for customers
Many official accounts in the fashion, hospitality, and e-commerce industries have employed chatbots for basic customer service roles to interact with their customers, answering questions, giving advice or handle complaints instantly.
WeChat bots operate by recognizing keywords in a context and applying hand-coded rules to make responses to different situations, from which customers can obtain information, knowledge, and service. Although they cannot give sophisticated answers at the moment, they are constantly being improved to understand customer inputs.
Adopting chatbots for online stores is a growing trend for brands on WeChat. In fact, WeChat was the very first social platform to implement chatbots, due to spontaneous demand from Chinese customers to ask questions about the brands and services. Given that Chinese customers are fully absorbed in WeChat and ready to engage with virtual communication, chatbots have plenty of opportunities to leverage.
For example, a large global wine & spirits powerhouse uses social CRM to create their new WeChat bot. Like a real customer service professional, the chatbot can create engaging conversations that get followers immersed in real time and gain valuable insights.
Air France’s WeChat account has a customer service chat function on WeChat, which can reply to customer queries in Chinese or English. Customers can use the service to perform tasks such as choosing seats, specifying baggage needs and cancelling flights. Even for a brand still mainly outside China, having a China-based team for full CRM via WeChat creates a personal touch that Chinese consumers love.
5. Digital Loyalty – WeChat got it right
As China moves towards becoming a fully digital society, virtual membership cards are becoming increasingly popular among WeChat users. In the past year, a number of businesses have introduced membership cards on WeChat as a replacement for physical membership cards.
The purpose of digital membership cards are the same as physical membership cards, to collect and redeem membership points that are gained through repeated purchase. Apart from the ease in mobility and use of these cards, customers can check their reward points at any time through their phone and share their card with their friends, which gives digital membership cards an edge over physical ones.
Dior, the French luxury maison with 210+ stores in China developed a membership program on Wechat which aimed at enrolling and re-engaging users through account binding, enrollment, and points redemption, enhancing the total experience for their members.
Break Talk, a bakery, has reportedly gained 40,000 new members and deposit of over 800,000 yuan within a short period of time after it introduced its digital membership card on WeChat.
IHG, the world’s biggest hospitality group, launched its loyalty programme IHG Priority Club on WeChat. Members can instantly check their points, booking options and manage existing reservations in the account, as well as enjoy exclusive offers.
“Friend Membership” – new Wechat’s service tool
WeChat Pay is testing a new feature which translates into “Friend Membership” which enables merchants to offer special deals and promotions to regular customers, according to Chinese media reports (in Chinese).
With the new feature, merchants can add regular customers to their account, which functions as a loyalty program. They can then push exclusive discounts, promotional deals, and new product announcements to members’ social feed, called Moments.
The “Friend Membership” feature allows merchants to develop and roll out different promotional campaigns. It offers better convenience and a direct way for smaller merchants to gain and manage loyal customers.
Through WeChat Pay’s new “Friend Membership,” store owners can add regular customers as members and push exclusive promotions and discounts.