I’d like to report that communities, forums, Twitter groups and the like were sure-fire business improvement tools, but you know as well as I that this is not true. There is a lot of nuance that goes into getting Social CRM right. Years ago (six) I was writing about a topic I called the “Intent Driven Enterprise.” A few companies took the concept to heart and are building new processes even now based on the principles. An intent driven enterprise is one that looks long and hard at what the customer wants – explicitly, implicitly and latent – and works to create those products and surrounding services. Think of Disney properties: they have thought long and in minute detail about getting guests to the parking lot, into the lot, how to find your car, charge your battery if it dies, make a key if you’ve lost yours, ferry you to the park… every aspect of what you might think of or not think of when you had the intention of a Disney Experience.
Most of us are not Disney. We can, however, begin to formally map out the intentions we have for our customers. I see such elegant architecture strategy documents and application portfolio maps, that it would leave customers stunned to know that the same company that can detail minutely how applications will evolve cannot describe a comprehensive map or story about the customer expierence.
Here is an easy way to advance your abilities in understanding the customer’s intent: leverage communities. Most of you work hard to move every transaction to something automated: voice response, email, online self service, kiosk, ATM – and in so doing lose the ability to understand what the customer might be trying to tell you about their wants and needs. But a social network, properly observed, analyzed, and maybe even participated in (more on that piece in another blog) can yield insight into how you as an organization need to change if you are going to win customer loyalty.
Just tossing up a social site, or giving customers the tools to interact, won’t help. You will be heading towards a more Social CRM that will require the same discipline that most of us failed to maintain with our previous (pre-social networks) CRM initiatives. Without corporate commitment, you might as well be handing out sharp knives to a party of three year olds – someone’s going to get hurt.