There’s a lot of talk about social CRM these days, but precious little action. This is at least partly, if not wholly, due to a misunderstanding of what social CRM is.
First, social CRM can’t be implemented within an organization simply by adding a particular tool or technology. That’s because we’re not in the midst of a profound change to the rules of business, but a communications revolution. No longer constrained to the phone or email, customers and prospects are finding new ways to voice their concerns, questions and feedback on social channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – to name a few.
Social CRM, then, is not about dumping the traditional means of interaction between a company and it’s customers, but incorporating these social preferences into the mix. In other words, it’s about reproducing, as closely possible, the way humans interact.
So how to get started? Well, it’s not just about tools. It’s also about culture. And there are several questions to ask and steps to consider. Here are a few to help wrap your head around social CRM.
First, identify what your customers want. How would they describe an ideal relationship with your brand? Try to capture the voice of the customer in subsequent correspondence.
2. Develop a “Customer First” Strategy.
Once you know what your customers want, you can develop a strategy that balances their wants with what you can realistically do and the channels you can use. Make sure your desired outcomes are reflected in the plan.
3. Align Programs to Goals.
Social CRM programs should be designed around the outcomes mapped out in your strategy. Maybe it means a focus on improving advocacy among your customers. In this case, you would develop a rewards program that would get customers talking to their peers about their experiences with your product.
4. Assess Your Processes.
Processes are now guided based on how they impact customers. The degree to which they enhance the customer’s experience can determine whether or not processes should be kept, modified, or eliminated.
5. Research Tools.
Social CRM is as much about culture as it is about technology. That said, there are tools you will need to support these programs and processes (more about this in the next section). You need to understand your options and the related costs.
6. Foster Cultural Change.
The basic tenet of Social CRM is that the buyer, not the seller, controls the conversation. If you want to succeed, you need to make sure your company accepts this new reality.
Want more advice on social CRM? Paul goes deep in the Grande Guide to Social CRM, which is free to download here.