The Death of Social CRM: Musings from a CTO

John Moore

Editor's note: The #s in this article represent hash-tags on Twitter related to the topic area.

It is important to fully understand that social customer relationship management is a strategy that focuses on people and their processes, using tools to assist. It is not a tool and, therefore, cannot ever be built.

These ideas have not been formed by myself in isolation. They come most recently from Bob Thompson who shared some thoughts based upon an interview with David Armano. Many, many more have come as a result of great discussions with people like Prem Kumar, Mitch Lieberman, Esteban Kolsky, Graham Hill, Wim Rampen, Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, Brian Vellmure, Arie Goldshlager, Glenn Ross and too many others to name.

Social Business Strategy and Social Customer Relationship Management

This is a much cleaner way of referring to the use of Social Media as part of a business strategy. Why cause confusion with terms such as social customer relationship management (social crm), customer relationship management (crm), Enterprise 2.0, and so many other terms people have contributed to the conversation. From here on out I will only refer to social business strategy (#SBS) as the framework, social customer relationship management (social crm) is dead to me. For those of you who were friends of social customer relationship management, flowers can be sent to my house as we will be having a private memorial service tomorrow.

We must begin to invest more time discussing the customer processes. How do we ensure the success of a company’s social business and customer service strategy? What is the overall approach for analyzing the business? How do you determine who to involve in improving the customer service offering?

The Tools of a Holistic Social Business Strategy

The vast majority of our conversations around social business strategy have focused on the tools. Vendors, using the term social customer relationship management (social crm) as a catch all, have caused confusion. Purist, thinking of social customer relationship management (social crm) as primarily strategy have cause more confusion. Novices, like myself, have only made things more confusing… What are people to do?

Let’s add some clarity to the tools, here are my definitions related to social business strategy and social customer relationship management:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) using Social Extensions (#CRMUSE). Salesforce demonstrates one approach to social by bringing the stream into existing processes. It’s a good approach, extending current processes to include social channels. For many users this will be a very comfortable starting point.
  • Social Support Communities (#SSC). Helpstream is a good example of a company delivering products in this area. A strong focus on the support channel where customers co-create support solutions and enable corporate cost savings, reducing the amount of support and knowledge transfer the company must perform.
  • Social Business Aggregators. I put Gist into this bucket, a clear example of how to use multiple social channels, from Twitter to classic e-mail, to provide a clear picture of people and companies. The more I think about Gist the more my excitement grows.
  • Market Engagement Solutions. Tools that engage all members of the marketplace to co-create value on all fronts, not just in the area of support. In many ways I see eBay as an early example on the sales front…

What do you think? Will you attend the memorial service with me?

First published on Call Center IQ.