“No company will tell you, ‘I don’t want to be customer centric,’ but do you know the difference between taking an inside-out versus an outside-in approach?” - Ranjay Gulati
An organization’s goal for being social with customers is, presumably, to gain a better understand of what customers want and need. Typically used to warehouse customer data, marketing campaigns, and customer service endeavors, CRM systems now must also capture the social interactions of customers and prospects as well. It is those social interactions— in a natural setting—that will provide organizations with untarnished insights.
More importantly, by drawing the customer closer, the organization will find a refreshing ‘outside-in’ view that leads to budget, resource, and time savings when it comes to new product or service development, customer service and marketing communications.
While Inc. magazine declares 2011 to be the year of Social CRM, we need to question whether or not most organizations have the culture to be social let alone allowing their customers to become an integrated part of their business through social CRM.
Is social CRM bringing companies & customers together in harmony today? Not for most organizations. There is a long road ahead for social CRM to becoming the norm. But when properly constructed and utilized, it is a road that will pay huge dividends—for both organizations and customers.
While it may not be recognized today, the insights social CRM provides are the customer and market dynamics nirvana that most organizations (and marketers) seek.
Social Media Examiner: What is Social CRM?
“In [social CRM] the customer is actually the focal point of how an organization operates. Instead of marketing or pushing messages to customers, brands now talk to and collaborate with customers to solve business problems, empower customers to shape their own experiences and build customer relationships, which will hopefully turn into customer advocates.”
Jacob Morgan: How CRM and Social Media Evolved to Social CRM
“The voice of customers across the social landscape is forcing organizations to take steps to deliver on the original promises of CRM. It’s a great opportunity. Organizations now have the capability (and the mandate) to listen, interact, and respond to their customers and prospects. They also have the capability to create, facilitate, and enable customers and other stakeholders to interact with each other. Social has opened up new infinite opportunities for innovation, co-creation, and customer responsiveness.”
Ray Wang (Altimeter Group): Research Report: The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM – The New Rules of Relationship Management
“Customers continue to adopt social technologies at a blinding speed and organizations are unable to keep up. Social technologies continue to proliferate. Because the conversations about organizations increasingly occur outside of the organization’s control in social channels, organizations need to:
- Discover where the conversations are happening in this new social world.
- Identify who’s influential and if they are customers or not.
- Assess friend or foe status and their willingness to engage
- Determine a tiered approach to engagement or re-engagement.
- Tie social channels to business value and objectives
- Bring the social channel back to existing CRM systems.
- Reallocate resources to support Social CRM efforts
This is the basis for the groundswell in Social CRM. But keep in mind, Social CRM does not replace existing CRM efforts – instead it brings more value to existing efforts and should complement the uber CRM strategy.”
Conversion Marketing Forum: Social CRM and customer-centricity: the social media experts’ point of view
“Adapting a customer-centric philosophy is always something that has to take place throughout the company. A lot of companies struggle while trying to do so, for instance because of departments within the company that act like independent silos from one and another. Customer-centric thinking asks for support from the management, uniform data, integration of platforms and processes, but especially cross-divisional cooperation.”
“[McGovern and Zhivago] further write that ‘thousands of customer interviews have convinced them that the ‘company’s list’ and the ‘customer’s list’ are always significantly different – including the items on the list, the specific characteristics of the items on the list, and the priority of the items on the list’.”
“You will face a wall without slicing up Social CRM into addressable bits. But if you do convince yourself that you do not need everything to be momentous, that there can be greatness in a grain of sand, then you will push through that curtain of doubt and create a self-sustaining culture of measuring each tiny milestone.”
Inc Magazine: 2011: The Year Social CRM Goes Mainstream
“The challenge is that most companies have been wired from the ground up to operate in a world of company-controlled communication, and they’re simply not equipped to engage in conversations. But, the rules have changed,” says Greg Gianforte , founder and CEO of customer experience solutions provider RightNow. ”To be truly conversant with social customers, companies are rewiring their operations to be more customer-centered, more relationship oriented, and more transparent. They’re collaborating across departmental silos, working beyond the capabilities of traditional CRM tools, and weaving social into business as usual. “
The good news is that true Social CRM offers companies a seamless and real-time view across the many different channels that customers converse in, new and old alike (e.g.,Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, chat, phone), Gianforte says. “With this view, companies can truly get to know and proactively care for their customers, ultimately fulfilling their brand promises, the social way.”
[Image source: Chess Media Group]