Thursday, July 2, 2009

On the applications of social crm - introduction

So what is social crm? Essentially Social CRM is using social media, such as facebook, twitter and wikipedia to start conversations with customers, or join conversations that have been started by your customers. Social CRM has also been called CRM 2.0. CRM 2.0 is defined as:

CRM 2.0 is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation.

on the crm 2.0 wiki

The keywords in the above definition are collaborative conversation, mutually benificial value and in a trusted & transparant business environment.

So Social CRM is not a replacement of traditional crm, but a new way of communicating with customers, through new media, and allows companies to join in conversations that customers have started about your company or your products / services. I've read through numerous blogpost and articles describing that Social CRM is a hype and that Social CRM will never replace existing CRM or Customer Experience Management processes. Of course it won't and it's not intended to replace them, it's just a new way of communicating. Mike Schneider posted the following insights on Social CRM on his blog:
The fact is that there are applications for Social Media across the enterprise. Look. Social (essentially) means communication. Media is a medium of conveyance. So Social Media is a fancy name for a communication tool. The organization needs to communicate in order to succeed. Your team or functional area does not need to be the Superfriends of Social Media, locking down the technology at the Halls of Social Media Justice. It is one thing to be a trail blazer and another to construct a fortress around the perimeter of a trail to ensure that no one else can even see the trail.

His comment also highlights that your company's social media efforts need not be driven from either a special department within your customer services department, or by the IT guys because they know all about social media. I think that incorporating social media as a communication tool for marketing, sales or service should become an integral part of your CRM strategy, if you are in the Business 2 consumer market.

In the coming weeks I hope to be able to devote some time to post on the different elements of social CRM or CRM 2.0: the collaborative conversation, mutually benificial value and trust & transparancy.