Social CRM is an important STRATEGY, not TECHNOLOGY, for 2010

I have been focused on other conversations but wanted to take a
moment to quickly weigh in on the conversations taking place around
Social CRM.  Once again, the CRM pundits, experts, and vendors are
doing a great job of creating confusion.  Half the people are talking
about Social CRM as a strategy, half are discussing Social CRM as a
technology.  Each group is claiming 2010 is the year where you need to
jump on board the Social CRM Love Train.

Let me refer to the master, Paul Greenberg, for the accepted definition of Social CRM:

“CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a
technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & 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.”

Yes, Social CRM is a philosophy, a business strategy.  It is, as
most business strategies are, supported by tools and tactics.  It is
not, however, a tool itself.

TechCrunch, unfortunately, came out and listed Social CRM as one of the key technologies for 2010.  Okay, repeat after me, Social CRM is a strategy, not a tool/technology.

Now, the Social CRM/Business Strategy is an important one and needs
to be considered by all companies.  While you may or may not agree with
the statement that customers control the
conversation, they are more heavily invested in the conversation than
ever before.  In many cases, customers/citizens are influencing that
conversation far more than many businesses/governments realize. 

I will repeat some simply Business 101 practices that I feel still apply, despite the continued swirling hype:

  • Define your goals. How much money do you want to make, how do you want to benefit your citizens?
  • Define strategies to meet your goals.  Yes, you must be aware of
    the changing landscape, the changed landscape, and ask yourself how the
    new social customer/citizen impacts the strategies you want to employ. 
    Social Business Strategies, Social CRM Strategies, are a PART OF, not a
    REPLACEMENT FOR, your business strategies.  Treat your customers with
    respect, be honest with them, engage.
  • Define tactics, which will include the use of tools like Social
    Support Communities (SSC), Social Media Monitoring (SMM), CRM, etc..
  • Define what you need to measure.  Keep customer satisfaction in
    mind, measure how you are doing, modify your approach as needed,
    execute, measure how you are doing, modify your approach, execute… 
    Repeat until the end of time.

That is it for now.  What do you think?

John (Social Anti-Guru)

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