Social CRM: Thinking Outside the “Call Center” Box

If one studies history of automobiles, the first cars powered by internal combustion engines running on fuel gas appeared as early as 1806. But early autos were little more than horse drawn carriage fitted with an engine. It was not until 1889 that Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with an engine (for more on history of the automobile, see this link).

Something similar is happening with respect to Social Networking technology today when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Instead of modifying and re-engineering their CRM business processes to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Networks, companies are fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage and are expecting great results from it.

Just ask any executive or consultant who is involved in implementing a Social Media marketing or Social CRM solution about how to engage thousands of customers (Scale) on Social Media channels and their Call Center “in the box” thinking becomes evident, what I call fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM processes (Carriage).

Instead, we need fresh outside the box thinking to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Media and Social Networks. For example, instead of trying to respond to each and every tweet or Facebook posting by customers, something not practical for a medium or large business, the emphasis should be on creating advocacy and building trust among customers, keeping in mind the “Social Context” of the medium. No where this is more evident than in support communities, where brand advocates/loyal customers help other customers out by answering their questions or suggesting solution, rather than company Reps trying to answer all the question.

Similarly, companies must leverage unique characteristics of Social Networks and re-engineer their CRM business processes to derive full benefits from it, rather than trying to fit “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage, calling it “Social CRM” and expecting great results from it.

What do you think? Look forward to your comments:

Dr. Harish Kotadia

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