Are you having an easy time or a difficult time with this term, Social CRM? Here is where I am on the topic: The background is that I spend most of my professional life helping organizations with their customer engagement processes. That simply means ‘post-sale’ unless you are a government (and don’t call them the income confiscation folks – they don’t think it’s funny!), or an educational/philanthropic organization. But you get the point: I don’t look after upfront marketing or sales. It is supporting the customer on the website, on the telephone, at the kiosk, or with the cable guy. And now it is about “how can organizations tap into the increasing desire/demand of customers to participate in the creation of solutions, or sharing advice and tips and best practices?”
On this exciting area, which has been cooking at a low heat for eight years, I feel that Social CRM carries a lot of freight. I mean a lotta lotta freight – like a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Coal train running over your foot kind of weight.
I’m afraid folks are going to miss the freshness of the approach. This is not about taking Siebel software and bolting on some social bits, and it is not about taking social software and hoping for a miracle. In my area, this is Social Software for Customer Engagement and Support. It is the newest addition to the Customer Service area, and as it pertains to the post-sales experience, Customer Engagement. It is how customers are creating their own content, videos, and solutions to problems. It is about integrating their recommendations and impressions into your existing customer systems, and getting the information back to marketing, or logistics, or quality. It is about being aware that they have a certain sentiment and level of commitment or indifference to you and your brand. And bringing that, too, into your existing systems. So, these are Customer Engagement Systems, but we are stuck, so far, with Social CRM. We are a bit at a crossroads, and maybe a rose by any other… and I am making too big a deal about the term. You’ll get it, right?
I think that this will be the most innovative area of focus for service organizations over the next five years, with a new set of vendors entering the field from their broader focus on External Social Software. These companies will need to focus on three processes 1) to help customers engage one another on the web and on their mobile devices, 2) to foster engagement between employees of the enterprise and the customer, and 3) to improve the dialogue amongst colleagues inside the enterprise working on behalf of the customer to resolve issues. (and of course the analytics and scale, too)
I have my eye on some vendors , but right now they are representative only, and the list will change rapidly over the coming 12 months: Communispace, GetSatisfaction.com, Jive Software, Lithium, Mzinga, and Salesforce.com. Each has a different approach, with some similarities.
Let me know what you think, eh?