I have been reading some very interesting books about strategies around becoming a customer-driven organisation and also about the benefits of Customer Engagement Programs (more on that in later posts). In the discussion around Social CRM we agree that it is beneficial to business to engage the Social Customer, but what seems to be more difficult to articulate is the Business Value Proposition – why should a company invest in Customer Engagement Programs in conjunction with CRM? What value is in it for the company and what is in it for the customers? We also talk about the need to move from value-in-exchange thinking to value-in-use. What tangible benefits are there for companies to take a a customer Lifetime Value approach rather than concentrate on the sale? Or simply, how can Social CRM Strategies can provide a significant impact to the bottom line.
The discussion around Social CRM is entering a phase whereby we are trying to move away from turning around in circles about semantics, towards a more practical and pragmatic approach that businesses can identify with so as to consider implementing it. I won’t deal with CRM Vendors here, as Social CRM can be seen as an extension to CRM. As a primer on SCRM I suggest you look at Bill Band’s article on Customer Think. The main idea that we all do agree upon is that we need to become customer-centric in order to respond to their changing needs and expectations, and this may have some major ramifications on the way we organise our businesses.
Bob Warfield recently posted a great article with the title The Customer, as Social CRM, is the Fourth Pillar of CRM. I posted the following in reply, for you to muse over.
Customer-centricity is definitely the way forward, and I like the idea of the customer as a stakeholder in co-determining the company’s success. Enterprise 2.0 is potentially a great basis to promote collaboration between employees. CRM is the touchpoint between them and the outside world. Social CRM adds the dimension of opening up the company to the customers, allowing for better communication, mutual understanding and foremost enables a collaboration model to be put in place between internal employees and the customer community. Many benefits are expected, such as co-creation, peer-to-peer support, First Call Resolution, brand image improvement, opportunity detection…
I met with Bernard Parisot and Catherine Chapuis of Net7 in Paris today to exchange with them on the subject of Social CRM. Net-7 consists of a number of C-Level Executives who have founded a company to provide expertise to Senior Management in many different sectors. They have often come across the issues involved implementing CRM systems so I highly value their input and experience!
The key point that I took away from this meeting is that not only do you need to put the right Social CRM tools in place to better communicate with your client base, you also need to gear your organisation in order to create a mindset that facilitates this interaction. Not only do internal employees need to come to grips with using the tools, analysing the data that comes out of them, but they also need to understand that they need to reach out and communicate with the other ‘silos’ that exist within their company. Information should flow freely and correlations should bubble up in order to create a synergy that will help to better serve the customer and provide her with what she is looking for.