The very promising field of Social CRM has been using english as its lingua franca to discuss and exchange ideas. I for example am Dutch, live in Paris and but I use English to express myself in this blog. Likewise, the #scrm discussions seem to take it for granted that online customer communities will use english, and thus these communities run the risk of missing out on solutions found in peer communities hosted in other languages.
In the perfect online customer community the best-of-breed solutions are selected, localised and transposed for the benefit of all the customers wherever they may be. China for example now has more internet users (est.338 million) than the USA has inhabitants – imagine the potential for crowd sourcing!
Some Social CRM platforms already have mechanism to flag the best solutions, the most innovative ideas and bring these to the attention of other community members. What would be interesting to add is the ability to provide this as syndicated content in a localised format to other international communites that deal with the same preoccupations.
A couple of months ago I was trying to hack my new Satellite receiver, so I scoured the net for information. I am lucky in the sense that I am able to go use forums in German, English, Dutch, French and Spanish, so I have a lot more information sources available to me (you could argue that you can use Google Translate – but this doesn’t do a good enough job in my opinion). What I noticed was that many of these forums dealt with the same issues. I would have loved to have flagged some of the solutions found in one country and share them in a rapid, transparent way with the users in the other countries!
In this area of cross-seeding solutions to peer communities the moderators or workflow mechanisms could play an important role . When an issue bubbles up in one country and not dealt with within a predefined timespan, they consult an international knowledge base of solutions flagged and suitably tagged in peer communities in other languages, and contribute a translated version (maybe autotranslated, cleaned up and submitted through a superuser).
The “Think Global, Act Local” adage still holds true in Social CRM, and I would even say especially in Social CRM.