Gartner Blog Network

Social CRM: Made for the Cloud, AND Requires care/feeding.

by Michael Maoz  |  April 30, 2009  |  3 Comments

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.

Additional Resources

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  saas-and-cloud-computing  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Social CRM: Made for the Cloud, AND Requires care/feeding.

  1. Michael,

    A great post, and a good reminder that technology is always just an enabler of a well thought out and executed strategy. The emerging social media tools just enable those who “get it” to excel and develop even faster.

    Thanks for your insight and reminder!


  2. […] 30, 2009 Michael Maoz at Gartner shares with us in his blog post Social CRM: Made for the Cloud, AND Requires care/feeding a good reminder that any technology, whether social networks, crm systems, or your iPhone is only […]

  3. Bill Odell says:

    Great post Michael, a well-run community can provide incredible insight into customers’ wants (and criticisms), but I agree we have to take a disciplined approach. As you know we have taken a new approach to social CRM by building community into the business process of customer service. We have found that by taking this approach, the community quickly becomes active and value is created. We have a blog post out on ROI generated from exactly this scenario (combining community with business processes in the customer service sector), I think you might find it interesting. Check it out

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.