CRM In The World of Web 2.0
Whether you referring to Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, CRM 2.0 or even Social CRM (SCRM), the ubiquitous 2.0 indicates the transition from the Web as a static publishing medium (retroactively known as Web 1.0) to the Web as a universal, communication-based platform in which web applications facilitate user-centered interactivity. Web 2.0 did not arise from a singular technological advancement but rather came about as a result of web refinements that enabled social networking sites, wikis, blogs, video-sharing sites and all manner of web-based communities.
Its development, however, should be credited as much to user desires and behaviors as to application design as the rampant success of YouTube can attest. Increased use of web-enabled mobile devices has also driven development of Web 2.0 mobile apps, allowing customers to participate in social discussions anytime, anywhere.
It seems only natural that CRM software vendors would be early adopters of Web 2.0 capabilities, but most analysts agree that the vendor community is still struggling to get up to speed. This is due in part to the culture of capture and analysis of the customer experience within the old channel walls of CRM software. Traditional CRM promised a 360-degree view of the customer relationship that was contingent upon the customer communicating with the company through its own channels. And while CRM software succeeded in unifying all the one-to-one channels, social networking now means that customers are conversing with each other over a wide variety of community channels that the company neither owns nor controls. Even as excellent stand-alone social monitoring and engagement tools are put to use, the CRM software industry is still learning how to extract data from unstructured conversational channels and then merge that data with existing company information obtained from one-to-one channels for a complete customer (or community) view. This is the challenge that gave rise to Social CRM or CRM 2.0. Without the proper retrieval, aggregation, integration and analytical tools new social media channels may remain what they currently are: another information silo.
Social CRM Defined
Functionally, today we have two distinct "CRMs" — traditional (one-to-one) CRM and Social CRM — that are trying to find a way to talk to each other. And just as traditional CRM required a cultural change within the organization, so does Social CRM. First, let's get a clear understanding of the difference between the two.
The growth of social media has caused experts to modify their working definitions of CRM. Industry thought leader Paul Greenberg has reworked his SCRM definition as follows.
"Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It's the company response to the customer's ownership of the conversation."
The last sentence is particularly revealing. The acknowledgement that the customer now owns the conversation represents a sea change for both CRM application vendors and for companies that have implemented CRM software solutions. That ownership need not be treated as a loss but rather as a opportunity for a win-win customer and community partnership.
Traditional CRM versus Social CRM
Social CRM is characterized by an expansion of customer driven communication mediums; presenting new and diverse touchpoints for suppliers which seek to engage and serve those customers. While traditional call center touchpoints will continue to be used by customers to interact with the company on a one-to-one basis, many new social touchpoints or channels are now at play. In its research on the evolution of customer channels Deloitte lists the following traditional CRM touchpoints plus the new social CRM touchpoints.
- Service center
- Personal contact
- Company’s website
- Instant Messenger
- Video sharing
- Price comparison websites
- Social networks
- Photo sharing
- Slides sharing
- Reviews and ratings in retail sites
- Social bookmarking
- Wish lists
While CRM software systems capture and analyze customer feedback via traditional, transactional, one-to-one communications, the use of additional social channels represents a substantive shift in power to the customer as they engage in real-time, unstructured and often unconventional conversations over numerous social media channels. This allows those customers who are very active in social environments to wield considerable influence over other customers and over the conversation generally.
Given how rapidly social networks have grown and the number of people who now participate in them, companies are understandably feeling insecure about the situation. According to Deloitte, 60 percent of the online population is registered with one or more social networks and 30 percent are active users. These influencers may be advocates or they may be detractors. In either case you need to know who they are and engage with them strategically.
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Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It's the company response to the customer's ownership of the conversation."
~ Paul Greenberg