I think the actual paradigm shift is the realisation of the consumers that they now have power derived from choice and the means to share and influence others with a far greater reach through the use of Social Media. We can now interact in far greater numbers, when we choose and share our experiences about how happy or unhappy we are about your business. Happy customers can drive more people to become customers. When we voice our gripes, you had better listen and meet our expectations to make us happy again. We have no obligation to do business with you, there are others out there and we’ll go elsewhere. As a group we have power, but you’d better listen to me as an individual!
The current reaction of business to adapt to this shift is to become customer-centric, to listen and adapt their offer to the changing needs and expectations and ensure a happy customer that come back and and influence others to come. CRM is the touch-point between the business and the consumers and can serve to formulate and coordinate the response of the company to ensure a positve experience. Social CRM is about extending the touchpoints to include Social Media, both internal to the company and external.
This customer-centric response plays into consumer risk-averse behaviour to obtain and repeat a positive experience. By taking away the risk of dealing with the company, the company will incite the consumer to avoid taking a risk of not meeting expectations when going to the competition, a potentially negative experience.
Technology is only but a means to give the customer the experience she is expecting. Social CRM is an attemp to optimize a company’s organisation in order to realise this experience in the manner that is most adapted to the Customer’s needs and expectations, whilst keeping in mind the company’s business continuity objectives.
Currently the focus is mainly on the external-facing tools that link CRM to Social Media – such as Online Customer Communities – mainly because this is where businesses can measure ROI, do profiling, monitoring and analysis (Helpstream, Lithium, Fuse, Radian6…). Other companies have been focusing on internal-facing tools, such as CRM with Web 2.0 Collaboration tools for helping the salesforce do their business better (Oracle etc.). As the market matures, these two approaches will become better integrated and like include what we now specify Enterprise 2.0, and evolve into “Social Business”.
Social CRM is about people and engagements, and about organizing the enterprise to nurture and value relationships to optimize the Customer Experience to co-create value that is mutually beneficial. The balance of power is changing with the (very!) main-stream adoption of Social Media, formulating a response (such as Social CRM) will be a fun journey!
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We are still taking baby steps in integrating social networks with business functions. Thank you for including us in your list of monitoring tools. Listening is one way to begin the culture shift in integrating social into all areas of the companies where customers interact.
Community Manager at Radian6
This is so interesting, just this morning I put something similar to this in response to Brian’s post on how big SCRM is going to get…
good post! like the way you express it, and i totally (with different terms) agree with the idea…
here is the link to compare notes…
Thank you Esteban! What is happening here seems like a perfect example of smartsourcing. Together as a community we’re aligning around an idea and tweaking it to continuously improve it, this is co-creation of value! It’s a great experience 🙂
Mark, I totally agree on that the paradigm shift is with the customer. That was my whole point in this post: http://corpblog.helpstream.com/helpstream-blog/2009/9/10/the-new-social-crm-world-order.html
Excellent point about combining internal and external facing communities with full CRM integration too. That’s exactly how most of our customers at Helpstream approach Social CRM and it is very powerful.
There are also some interesting use cases for pure internal communities whose purpose is largely to inform the CRM players what to do externally. For instance, one large tech customer of Helpstream has a “Sales Help Desk” with about 2000 internal participants. It’s purpose is to facilitate getting sales people all of the help and information they need to be able to close deals. It brings sales people together with key subject matter experts and collateral content in some very potent ways.
Thank you for your comments Bob!
I read through your post and couldn’t agree more :). The revolution has already taken place, companies now need to work on the strategies to respond.
I like the the notion of internal communities, it is a very powerful idea! I have been wondering about how to organise the company in a Social Business manner in order to make optimal use of internal smartsourcing rather than relying on the traditional top-down, takes ages approach. The Internet Age is fast, choice is abundant, Response Communities may be just the ticket!
Let’s look at a hypothetical case. A problem arises, and the Company Buzz increases in Social Media, Social Support Communities and in Customer Support. It is identified through Social Media Monitoring and Sentiment Analysis, and then – using Feedback Management – dispatched into the appropriate “Response Community” (if CRM algorhytms or Customer Service cannot deal with it directly).
Such a Response Community could for example be Marketing acting on competitor disinformation. Just think of what happened this week with a communique Salesforce did containing claims that did not correspond to reality. They put out a tweet linking to the Press Release, which was picked up through SMM. The companies concerned were quick to send out a response through SMM to set the record straight (they would probably confer with a ‘Management Community’ just beforehand). To me as such it does not matter whether there are 2000 or 2 people involved in such a community, but rather that the event is routed to someone that takes ownership, coordinates the formulation of an appropriate response and follows it through until full resolution.
As a sidenote, what really got their goat was that traditional Press did not pick up on the inconsistencies, thus showing that they do not provide the experience that is their core business; diffusion of information that can be trusted. And there was no customer service to yell at to get the them to make amends…
Seeing a number of comments in various places about reorganizing due to Social. As an interesting aside (and proof I don’t believe everything revolves around Social, LOL), there’s always been difficulties with org. They’ve started well before Social.
I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve dealt with where Sales and Marketing were almost at war with one another, Customer Service was completely ignored by both unless there was a problem, and we won’t even get into how the Products org fit into all that. Many of the largest companies seemed to fall into that category.
Many of the biggest Customer Sat issues seem to come about when companies acted like a bunch of disjoint organizations and the Customer wanted to deal with one coherent organization that had its story straight across all functions. Nothing good comes of that, and if it gets too bad, you’re looking at a vendor headed for serious trouble if they aren’t there already.
So Social CRM is a great excuse to send in a bunch of Management Consultants and do some Change Management 😉
Jest aside, could it be that the silos first need to learn to collaborate? In this case, would it not be better to first implement Enterprise 2.0 before positioning Social CRM strategy? The road may be longer but overall it should increase the success rate/improve the customer experience, don’t you think?