The Google partners Brin and Page are computer scientists born of computer scientists, and at least in the case of Brin, third generation scientists. Fortunately they do not have 10,000 SKUs of physical products sold in stores on the Internet and online, installed by legions of people in sites not under their control, and often in need of repair. And fortunate that they do not sell complex financial instruments or health care, or maintain aircraft or hotels. Why? Because then they would be like so many of the rest of us, wrestling with the real world of customer service and support.
So many of my clients struggle with the dual challenge of improving existing service processes while integrating Social principles and collaboration. They read the great stories from the Social Software vendors on how they can nurture customer participation and foster listening and improve loyalty. And the question has to be asked: if there are thousands of companies engaged in Social CRM, why do the same 200 customer success stories circulate in the Press and at Conferences?
What I am observing now is a mood inside of the Customer Support / Customer Service organization to take slow up the pace of ‘Social.” If you are a fan of basketball you will understand the ‘Full Court Press.’ That is where a lot of businesses have been with Social. This tactic demands tremendous concentration and stamina, and a coach usually deploys it sparingly and then lets up a bit so that the team isn’t exhausted. Judging from the incoming calls from Gartner clients, that is where we may be right now.
What do we do now? It is time to forge deeper relationships with Marketing and Business Intelligence and core IT. Each of you has been somewhat in a silo. Some clients are looking hard at the last year’s data on churn, buying, cost of service, brand, and uplift and trying to factor out what growth comes from a hotter economic condition and what comes from hotter processes. Then cycle back to the customers and examine just which segments are most enamoured of you Social CRM efforts and why, and who is left out of left cold.
Let me know if you are experiencing anything similar.
I know I have been quiet the past month, but this is Conference Presentation Crush Time, and any time that I have not been on the phone or visiting clients has been absorbed in the new material for our upcoming London in March (http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/crm/ ) and Los Angeles later in the month (http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/customer-360/index.jsp ).
Maybe I will see some of you there.