It’s very easy to talk about technology, big data, CRM platforms,
cloud computing and all that good stuff. But I believe that its time to
peel back the onion and start digging a little deeper.
Here are some key questions we should start to explore broken down by the familiar People, Process & Technology:
(1) People: Who is responsible internally to execute
and plan a social CRM program? Is it support, a community manager,
marketing and sales? What if an agency is managing a brand’s social
channels? How does that work? What kind of reporting is needed to
determine success? Who is responsible for analytics? How do you navigate
within an organization that is plagued with organizational silos (hate
that word, but they still do exist)? What are the best practices to
achieve buy in from other departments i.e. support, IT, operations,
etc.? What’s in it for these groups to a) participate b) invest budget
into a social CRM program c) invest time and resources supporting cross
functional teams and d) hire the right staff to do the job. Who owns the
customer experience? Is an owner even needed? How do you get “buy in”
from executive management? More importantly, how do get executive
management to begin to change their behaviors instead of just talking
(2) Process: What kind of processes are needed to
create and manage workflow? How do I create a customer support decision
tree? What about sales? Is there an opportunity to leverage social CRM
best practices for sales reps? If so, what’s the process for them to get
involved? Should there be a training program? If so, what does the
curriculum entail? What about crisis management? Whose responsibility is
it to create, manage and execute a crisis management protocol when the
time arises? Who is responsible for gathering all the data, analyzing
it, and then extracting “actionable” insights for the organization? And
more importantly, what is the process to ensure that those insights are
executed in order to close the loop?
(3) Technology: There are many different vendors in
the space, what’s the best technology for monitoring the conversation?
What about engagement (yes, engagement is important to social CRM)? Is
one, integrated tool more effective or are multiple tools okay to get
the job done? What are best practices for integrating the traditional
CRM platform with today’s tools? What about a real time command center?
Is that important and how does that work? Is that an operation that
needs to be manned 24/7? What about IT? Should they be involved in this
process? Who should pay for all this technology?
These are many questions that I hear from clients and people in the
space. Not just the decision makers but the folks on the front lines who
are managing and engaging in customer relationships day in and day out,
usually community managers. And by the way, many of these community
managers are jumping head first into these issues – learning, sometimes
making mistakes, adjusting their approach, etc. They are engaging, yes
engaging; creating workflows, managing vendors and working with
traditional CRM systems, managing analytics and more importantly many of
them are drivers of change in the organization.
Perhaps its time to move beyond social CRM as a topic or phrase.
And as I think more about it, all of the questions above latter up to
something much bigger – something more than just customer experience,
technology, CRM and community. It really is the shift and transformation
to a social business. And, it’s probably not a coincidence that the Social Business Strategy Summit is featuring mostly speakers from the CRM space. I am certain we will see a lot more of this in the future.
It’s no argument that social CRM is ONE component of the customer
& technology ecosystem. It’s ONE piece of the puzzle that
organizations need to put together in order to change the way they
communicate and engage with employees, partners, customers and even the
media. It’s just ONE attribute and proficiency needed to help companies
evolve into a social organization. Perhaps its time we move beyond
social CRM and focus on the bigger picture.
And much like social media was in the early days when it was an after
thought in most marketing organizations, research and experience proves
that it’s now an integral part of most marketing budgets, initiatives
and strategic imperatives.
I believe the same will happen with social business. Social business
initiatives will soon be generally accepted business practices like Six
Sigma, GAAP, ISO 9000, BPM, TQM, etc. It’s just a matter of time.
What do you think? Is this blasphemy?