It may seem a bit wonky that we’re only getting to a post titled “Defining Social CRM” sixty posts into the blog. It also may seem a bit wonky that I used the phrase “a bit wonky” three times (so far) in a post about business systems.
While defining Social CRM is something we’ve touched on when I introduced the topic a while back, when we talked about Social CRM not replacing a standard CRM system, when we discussed who owns Social CRM, and many more posts, I think it’ll be good if we finally lay to rest some of the aspects that differentiate Social CRM from some other systems you need to have in place.
For the most part we all agree on the general characteristics of Social CRM: acknowledging that customers/communities own a large portion of the communication environments, that social tools are used in conjunction with traditional tools to facilitate a system and strategy of positive customer engagement, etc. Where I feel the necessity of this post lives is in the need to have an agreed-upon aggregate of the aspects that make Social CRM unique.
Let’s dive in now so this doesn’t go on too long for you.
…believes that communities control the communication and business environment. The one major change that social media has introduced into the market is a clear control of communication channels for the customer. Years ago we would listen to the radio, see billboards, watch TV and read magazines and be at the mercy of how we were talked to by companies about their products and services. It’s true that there were complaint channels, but honestly, who really put much stock in them as a consumer. The business communications environment channels are now being controlled and dictated by the consumer and Social CRM is built mainly on this truth.
[F.Y.I. Caveat: Just because consumers control one of the main channels of communication now does NOT mean that they control the business or business decisions]
…is an extension of traditional CRM. This might seem like a weird position to take considering the theme of this blog, but the truth is that Social CRM is an extension of a traditional CRM system. While I advise all companies to look into Social CRM technologies, sCRM won’t be coming into an organization and replacing the traditional CRM, it will merely enhance its tools to include new avenues of importance and relevance. I even believe Social CRM is an extension when used by itself by a company, because it is still based on the idea that businesses need to interact with customers in mutually beneficial ways to make sure both parties are prosperous and successful.
…is a product of a communication revolution, not a business revolution. Yes, business communication is revolutionized in the process, but when it comes to social media you have to think bigger. Every aspect of our communications have been changed, not just the ones related to business and marketing.
…strategy is affected by growth in consumer demand. Social media has given consumers a large enough voice for so long that their expectations are growing. Those expectations grow at such a fast rate and can have such an impact on business perception that all sCRM strategies must be built on collaboration and customer engagement.
…is based in customer interactions rather than customer transactions. That’s an important distinction to make while keeping in mind that transactions are still very important to the overall strategies.
…is not about control, but compliance. Businesses cannot control the personal value chain of their employees. You can’t decide for them what they value and how they go about learning about location, buying, those things; but you can comply and provide what they need to satisfy what they’ve already stated as important to them. Understanding customer motivations becomes all the more important in Social CRM strategies.
…makes transparency and authenticity more than buzzwords. Has it always been important for businesses to be transparent and authentic? Yes. Has it always been evident when they were and weren’t being those things? No. Now it is. Since customers are making their own valuations and approaching their own personal value chains with more fervor, they need all the information and context they can get to make the most informed decisions possible regarding products and servies. That’s where authenticity and transparency come into play.
…focuses on advocates rather than satisfied customers. While the two are mutually exclusive, not all satisfied customers will become advocates. Social CRM opens the communication channels in a way that allow for co-creation and customer connection in ways that were previously unheard of. While satisfying customers is still important, use the communication revolution to create customers that will go on and carry your message for you using sCRM strategies.
That covers most of the majorly important basics in my opinion, but there’s a lot of expanding to do, so stick with us while we dive further into some of these ideas in the weeks to come.
I know this post has gotten pretty long, so if you want something to tweet, here you go:
Social CRM is a business’ technology and strategy answer, surrounding the customers’ communication control.
Alright, it’s been a long run today, but what are your thoughts?
Get our latest posts straight to your inbox!