It will be six years this autumn since we lost Peter Drucker, and I can’t tell you how much we need another oracle to take his place. I remember in his later years he was focused on fish farming, and food shortages, and the availability of enough water and arable land. Kind of what half of the world’s disagreements really come down to in this generation. But what got me hooked on setting my technology sights on Customer Service were his insights on Drucker’s laser focus on value as perceived by the customer.
Terms like ‘knowledge worker’ trace back to Drucker more than anyone else. Warning organizations to be more enlightened about supporting lifetime learning? That was Drucker. While all of the quants were sucking money from the marrow of the worker to turn over to hedge funds and shareholders, Drucker was focused on how an ethical relationship of the enterprise with the employee, and an ethical relationship between customer and enterprise would set a course of success.
I am too cracked a philosophical vessel to divine what Drucker would have said about Social Media and Social CRM. But instead you can apply Matthew Arnold’s concept of Touchstones and see if the ideas encapsulated in Drucker hold true in the Social Media torrent. If you do this, I believe you will find his words can be used outside of his works around employee and customer and enterprise, and transplant them to an evaluation of the Social Media Monitoring and Social CRM and Crowdsourcing and learn some great lessons. What you might learn is that the litmus test of any Social CRM project is: are customers feeling more respected? are they feeling better understood? are they feeling empathy for your operating model and go-to-market strategy? are they recommending you more and spending more as a result of your initiatives?
This morning I had to have a tire repaired on my car. My daughter had had the same tire repaired by a different Firestone dealer 1100 miles away 13 months earlier. I was prepared to replace the whole lot of tires, because my daughter has been a bit, how do I say this kindly, aggressive… with the tires. Well, what happened at the dealer in my home town? Someone I have never met, and a dealership I did not know existed before my iPad loaded the address onto a map and essentially said: “GO HERE!”
Here is what happened: I handed the work slip from 13 months ago to the young man at the counter, and explained my situation. Within 15 seconds he had all of the information about my car on his computer screen and he told me exactly when the tire was repaired, by whom, and for what likely reason. He also told me that my daughter had replaced all of the tires just six months before her flat tire. He also told me, based on the make and model of the tire, where she had purchased them, and that I need not buy new ones unless there was something seriously wrong. Then he told me exactly how long it would take. Within 45 minutes my tire was repaired, and the diagnoses was that perhaps the tire had met a sharp object like a curb, because the rim was a bit dented, but that they had fixed the rim and removed all dirt.
The total charge: $0.00.
Where am I going to buy my tires next time? I will certainly go to Firestone first. How many people will I tell about the wonderful service, accurate diagnoses, and fast summation of the service history on the vehicle? Plenty. What did any of this have to do with Social CRM? The linked computer systems, the clever decision that it is better to win a customer than charge them $25 to repair a leak a second time, even if it is the customer fault? This company, at least in this interaction, showed that what mattered was that I feel that they understood, and appreciated my business, and were wise enough to think strategically.
As Drucker might have said (oh – he DID say!): “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.” Thank you, Professor Drucker.