It could appear that I do not share the convert’s ardour for Social CRM. As one of the first to publish a paper on community-centric support resolution (2003), I’d say the truth is more akin to passing from puppy love to a more complex relationship. The challenge that ‘social’ initiatives share is in tying interactions back to the customer account. While one might think that fostering communication and interaction is enough, most of us would argue that the end game is to enrich your understanding of the customer.
Where would one keep information about the client, or customer, or citizen, or student, visitor, partner or prospect? The BPM vendors and the MDM and the Social vendors will tell you to keep everything dispersed in ten separate systems and bring them together only to run the business rule. I know how that works in reality. Like my daughter this week who tried to book a dental appointment and was denied coverage and then three organizations provided three different reasons why she could have / should have known this would happen. None actually let her know ahead of time. The three did not have a consistent answer as to how to solve the problem. Ah, but one did use business rules. “We sent the notification,” said they. “How do you know?” asked I. “Because it is automatic,” the agent replied. “Do you have a notation in the account record that it was sent?” naively I asked. “Talk to the hand,” said the agent (ok, not exactly – it was just the sentiment). Where is the account record? Here, there, and nowhere.
The account record is central to any effort that an organization will make to manage, to the extent that it can manage, a customer relationship. And don’t get me going by saying that ‘managing the customer relationship’ is a fallacy. It isn’t. That weak-minded point of view is the refuge of those who are afraid of taking responsibility. You cannot manage the customer – true. You can manage what you, as an organization, want to achieve with that customer. It is your balance sheet, and the profits and losses are your responsiblity, as is living up to the brand promise. You have made a promise to manage your side of the relationship, and the Account
Record is still a good place, and perhaps the best place, to assemble information for current and future interactions. And for analyzing past interactions.
So: how many “Social Software” vendors own the Account Record?