CRM Handbook / Social CRM
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Social CRM

Page history last edited by Kate Mitchell 9 years, 3 months ago

What is Social CRM and how can it help?


With the onslaught of social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or one of the hundreds of other applications, the online world is forever changing.


This new digital landscape is now commonly referred to as Web 2.0—innovative online tools designed to enhance communication and collaboration. These include social networking sites, blogs, wikis and user-generated taxonomies or ‘folksonomies'.


Within this lies a new, innovative type of CRM system....CRM 2.0 – the Social CRM


Social CRM was born out of Web 2.0 and the social media phenomenon characterised by user-generated content manifested through social networking sites, blogs, wikis, community forums and RSS syndication. CRM thought leaders are experimenting with new methods to communicate in the way the customer wants, to elevate the communication to bi-directional exchange, and to engage the customer in a way that delivers useful knowledge and content to both parties. For companies on the leading edge of CRM, this strategy goes well beyond just making the customer feel important and in fact, makes the customer an extension of the R&D team, the marketing team, the advertising team, or any other line of business that can benefit from direct contribution by the ultimate recipient.


At its heart, Social CRM requires new thinking and recognition that the customer relationship balance with the 'social customer' has shifted from the position where the company believes it controls the relationship with its product and service directed activities to one where the customer is proactive, part of a much larger virtual community and more intent on being heard and recognised as part of the solution.


Working in unison, such new technologies can help unlock vibrant new ways of understanding and connecting with customers. However, certain key issues around institutional support of Web 2.0 technologies, the effects of sometimes insecure, instant messaging and loss of control over content are all currently relatively unknown variables.


An overview of JISC’s current programmes, projects and services focused on Web 2.0 and Social CRM can be viewed here.


JISC have also developed a couple of excellent ‘infoKits’ aimed at breaking down some of the mystery around these new systems and how they overlap and interact with other valuable resources.


Knowledge Transfer 2.0 Infokit 


So, can Social CRM really add value?


While potential benefits, and indeed pitfalls, continue to emerge and are still to be fully understood, Social CRM is already providing users with greater flexibility and access to information.


More obvious benefits are that; communities can be built, groups of people (customers) feel part of a special group, customer champions can more easily be identified, we can begin to harness the power of peer to peer recommendations, marketing messages are amplified and spread to extend reach and impact (viral marketing). In addition, customer's views can be captured, comments listened to, ideas tested, and crowds sourced for innovation and feedback.


However, most of the information available is in anecdotal form – the skill is in having the knowledge to ‘data mine’, dissecting the sheer volume of social data available and turning it into more evidence-based outputs. Also, a lot of what is available is of a much more ‘personal’ nature - the standard ‘corporate’ data approach is replaced by a wealth of daily interactions on a pure customer-by-customer basis. Scalability is therefore key. Quite simply 1:1 customer support is simply not possible for most companies. And what about return on investment? How can we truly measure return from social interactions and put a ‘real’ value on it? A walkthrough of other key issues when comparing traditional CRM and Social CRM is well summarised here.


Ultimately Social CRM is not a substitute for accurate corporate records of contacts and interactions but is a valuable new resource that can complement and add value. Suppliers of current CRM solutions recognise this fact, and that the two systems have to operate together.