The Trade and the Tools of Social CRM

Hammer and Blueprints

If I told you to go build me a house and gave you a paper airplane and some silly putty, you’d laugh at me. But let’s say before that I told someone else to build me that paper airplane and gave them a hammer, nails and a thumbtack, they’d look at me like I was crazy.

You’d both have every right to hate me, I gave you tools, but not the right ones.

(Oh crap, another Right Tools/Right Job metaphor! Who does this blogger think he is? Doesn’t he know we’ve seen this metaphor used a million times?)

[Yes, you'd probably be better off not reading it and letting your competitors read it instead.]

Okay, have all the poopyheads left and only the competitors left? Good.

Last time we talked about how a Social CRM isn’t for a company, it’s for the Social Customer, but the truth is you can’t build something worthwhile for your customers without the right tools. And even more than that, you can’t use the right tools for the wrong jobs. That’s like trying to build a paper airplane with a hammer and then using the paper airplane to build a house.

Social CRM Toolbox

Don’t get me wrong, the right tools are out there; scattered throughout the cluttered garage of the Internet as if your kids got into your toolbox one day while you were at work. I’m not going to talk about specific tools in this post because they are all over the place (like here, for instance), but the ones you need will be in a few particular categories.

Listening Tools

If asked, most people would say the Internet is mostly a visual medium. After all, you spend most of your time online looking at a screen and reading what you see. I’d like to argue that the Internet is mainly an audible medium. We may be reading and looking at what we experience there, but when it comes to social media, what we’re really doing is listening to the voices of our customers and potential contacts. We listen to the other human voices that make up what we know as the web.

Because so much is built on the individual voices filling the Internet, you must have listening tools in place in your Social CRM. You can’t join a conversation if you can’t hear what’s being talked about in the first place.

The listening tools must also integrate with your current CRM systems so that the individuals you create relationships with aren’t re-living experiences with your company.

What you’re essentially trying to do is create a 360 vision of your customers while you interact with them, allowing you to enhance a relationship with a person rather than with an ID number.

Collaboration Tools

These can also be called Workflow Tools. You want all engagement within your company to be in alignment when it comes to your forward-facing faces. We know that no one department wholly owns social media or the Social CRM, so your Social CRM must have in place a routing system to make sure the right messages are getting to the right people.

This can be human controlled or automated, but after you Listen, you must Answer Knowledgeably. 

When collaborating, come up with a system for whatever type of communication you find yourself dealing with and a path for how that will be dealt with. The types of communications we’re talking about here are:

  • Question
  • Complaint
  • Compliment
  • Content
  • Sentiment
  • Action Needed
  • Any other factor related to your desired KPIs

Engagement Tools

Alright, you’ve listened and know how you need to respond, now you need the tools to actually get those answers to the right people. I don’t care if you use a free service like Hootsuite or find something else that works for you, but have a simply, clear way to engage with people and make sure everyone in the company is using the same set of engagement tools (this will make the last set of tools easier to manage).

Have a system that allows you to communicate internally and externally (assigning tasks and sending communications, posting responses, sharing questions and content, etc) seamlessly and quickly. Social media moves fast and your Social CRM will be no different.

First you Listen, the you figure out the best Answer, then you actually have to Talk Back.

Reporting Tools

It’s all crud if you don’t know what it means. Have reporting tools in your arsenal because there’s no success if success can’t somehow be measured. Again, the tools are all over the place, but depending on your particular goals and audiences, different ones will work different ways for you.

It’s important that with your reporting tools, you have someone (on staff or consulting) that can help you analyze the data you report. Knowing you had 72 @-replies on Twitter in December means nothing if you can’t decipher what that means to you and your company and how you can learn from that data going forward.

Listen, Answer, Talk Back, and finally, Learn.

There you go, the necessary tools to help build an effective Social CRM. Have you used tools like this before? What are your favorites? What do you wish they were able to do that you haven’t been able to find yet?


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3 Responses to The Trade and the Tools of Social CRM
  1. DannyBrown

    @Britopian Cheers mate – agree, solid work from @joey_strawn

  2. philkyle

    Great read! @Britopian RT @dannybrown: The Trade and the Tools of Social CRM really good post!»

  3. [...] lot of great things come to mind when we think and talk about Social CRM. This site has discussed many of them and will talk about many, many more in the coming months. This is not one of those [...]

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