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Questions to Ask When Developing a Social CRM Strategy


Posted by on May 6, 2011

Social CRM means different things to different people.  If you ask three people to explain social CRM chances are that you’ll get four different responses.  The thing to remember is that all of this “social” stuff is about solving customer facing problems that address people’s change in behavior, expectations, technological fluency, and communication methods. These problems are solved with strategies that include BOTH new technologies (such as Facebook, Jive, Lithium, Twitter) AND older technologies (such as CRM systems).

While there is no strategic blueprint or “one size fits all” approach that organizations can adopt, there are a few key questions that organizations can ask themselves around 5 key areas: business goals and metrics, culture, technology, rules and guidelines, and workflow and process.  These are by no means the end all be all set of questions, however going through and addressing these issues will make sure that your organization is on the right path to developing a holistic strategy around the social customer.
Feel free to pick and choose, adapt, edit, and modify anything and everything below so that it best meets your needs because at the end of the day that’s really the only thing that matters.  If you have additional questions or comments to bring up please send leave a comment!

Business goals and metrics

  • What is it that we as an organization are trying to achieve and why?
  • What are the goals for the organization as a whole vs what are the goals for the specific departments involved in this initiative?  Think campaign vs strategy.
  • What is the value that we are going to provide to our customers and what value are they going to provide to us as an organization?
  • What are the risks associate with this social initiative and how we can prioritize and mitigate those risks?
  • Where have we had successes in the past and how can we replicate them?
  • What are the metrics we want to use to evaluate success?  Are these the same for each department and for the organization as a whole?
  • How are we going to measure success from an organizational standpoint and from a departmental one?
  • Who is going to own this initiative?  Departments?  People?  A special team?
  • What is “true but useless” vs “true but useful?”
  • What is this going to look like in 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years?

Culture

  • Is our culture open or closed?
  • What should we be “open” or “closed” about?
  • Does our corporate culture support the strategic initiative we are proposing? For example if we are advocating customer collaboration does our company culture encourage collaboration?
  • Is our corporate culture aligned?  Do employees and senior level executives see eye-to-eye?
  • What are the barriers that the organization is faced with in respect to this social strategy and how can those barriers be overcome?
  • How can we cultivate “T-shaped leaders?” (a concept my Morten T. Hansen which suggests leaders need to be great at working on their own things and also contributing across the organization).
  • How are we going to change the way we evaluate, reward, and motivate employees and customers?

Technology

  • What emergent tools are we going to use to meet our business goals?
  • What legacy or “old” tools are we going to use to meet our business goals?
  • How are the emergent and legacy systems going to communicate with one another to provide a “single source of truth” around the social customer and what is that going to look like?

Rules and guidelines

  • What do we do when we get positive feedback?
  • What do we do when we get negative feedback?
  • What hours are we going to engage?
  • What should we not discuss publicly?
  • What channels should we respond on and what channels should we listen in to?

Workflow and process

  • Once we begin receiving incoming data what is the process for response?
  • What systems control and route information and who are the employees responsible for the response?
  • What can we automate vs what requires a human response?
  • What is the escalation and crisis management policy?
  • What is the process that goes from the customer to the company and back to the customer?  (map it out with pen and paper).

These questions should prove to be a good starting point for organizations looking to get involved in social CRM.  This may not cover everything and in fact you might find that some of these questions are not that relevant to you, that’s fine.  Instead look at this as a starting point for your social business discussions, pick and choose what you think are the most important elements to discuss.  However, even though you may not choose to address all of the questions you should at least address things under the 5 areas mentioned above.

This doesn’t need to take days or even weeks to address.  All of these questions can be addressed in a few hours with the relevant stakeholders in the room to provide responses and address these key issues.  If you’re organization is serious about moving towards social business, then it’s better to have some guidance along the way, I really hope this helps!

  • http://rickladd.com Rick Ladd

    Hi Jacob. Although I am no longer working at a large organization, but am currently applying these principles to small (very small) businesses, where appropriate, I recognize good, thoughtful guidelines when I see them . . . I think. Some of these, as you point out, don’t translate well to a mom and pop or other small organization (like questions regarding departments), but all of them are worth thinking about and in some cases adapting to fit the situation. Good stuff.

    I just did a presentation on the use of Facebook fan pages for small businesses and I will be putting a link to this post on my Facebook fan page to share it with some of the people who attended. Thanks for your insight.

    • http://dissertationtoday.com/ dissertation writing service

      agree with you. i use those tips too though i aont have big business. thanks to the author!

  • http://www.mactonweb.com SEO bangalore

    excellent article, I got a few idea on how to develop a social CRM .

  • http://twitter.com/dbvickery Brian Vickery

    Outstanding article. It really provides a construct of questions to present to a leadership/executive/steering team for defining the overall company strategy…of which social media is just a valuable component.

  • http://twitter.com/ACTeeple Amy C. Teeple

    Great tips. Thank you.

    The questions that you supplied can be applied not only to social media implementation, but to any marketing strategy with a few minor modifications. Good stuff!

  • Sue

    Great post!

  • http://frugallysavvy.com Frugally Savvy

    I think people have different opinions of measuring CRM because customers respond to different things in different industries

  • Peter Zmijewski

    Cool Blogging!!!

  • Ben H.

    Merxcore CRM is a brand new CRM solution for small businesses. It offers a simple, quick, and easy to use interface and is targeted towards small businesses who do not need the overly complicated main line CRM software. Merxcore CRM is a hosted solution where all information is stored on one account per company so all users share all information collected.

    http://www.merxcore.com/

  • Peter zmijewski

    Amazing Post!!!!!!!
    Nice Topic to be discussed………….
    Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!