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The Social CRM Process


Posted by on April 5, 2010

I’m speaking about Social CRM at the New Communications Forum in a few weeks and I’ve been doing a bit of research and thinking around this topic.  I wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the ideas and concepts that I’m going to be presenting, starting with the one below.  I’ve had a bit of a hard time coming up with a name or a title for what I wanted to call this but in the end I settled for “The Social CRM Process.”

I’ve already noted a few mistakes/changes with my image.   Bob Thompson recently posted a discussion around whether or not you can do social CRM without social media/networks.  After all, social CRM is a strategy and as Bob mentions, it’s important to separate the strategy from the technology.  My image below doesn’t make it clear that you can do social CRM without social media/networks since the entire image is based around online data from social spaces.  (Bob, if you’re reading this would love your two cents).  The listening tool which I highlighted below is of course purely social media and online-based, however I neglected to put touchpoints such as customer surveys, phone calls that customers make, angry letters that are mailed, comment cards, and other offline forms of customer input.  Perhaps my image below is better described as “The Online Social CRM Process?”  Or perhaps it just needs to be re-worked entirely.

However, read the Wikipedia definition of CRM:

“Customer relationship management is a broadly recognized, widely-implemented strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support.”

Perhaps the issue is with semantics?  Social CRM is an evolution of CRM but if CRM involves the use of technology and tools then how can SCRM not?  It sounds like technology is a part of the strategy and not something separate.  A topic for another post perhaps.

Back to the image…

Is it perfect and does it include everything?  Absolutely not.  There is no perfect formula here and the (and other) images that I create are going to evolve and change over time.  I’m certainly open to ideas and feedback from all of you, so please try to leave constructive comments so we can work together on figuring this out.  What I created below is what I believe to be a very basic high level (online) Social CRM Process.  I had a few great chats with Paul Greenberg who encouraged me to just roll with my ideas, so here we go.  I’ll adapt and modify my ideas over time but for now let’s walk through it:

Starting at the very top of the image is data which is manually entered into a listening tool such as Biz 360 or Radian 6 in the form of keywords or phrases that you want to monitor.  The listening tool then scours multiple online sources for that information and returns all of the relevant (hopefully) results to a human, who either handles the responses or passes the data to someone who can.  The human now needs to decide how to respond to the information that was received.  If the response is directed at a particular person, then it is a micro response.  If it is a response directed at a large group of people, aka for the masses, then the response is a macro response.

Here’s a brief example.  Remember the whole Southwest Airlines and Kevin Smith debacle, where they kicked him off the flight for being too fat?  Southwest Airlines took both a micro and a macro response.  They interacted with Kevin Smith directly via Twitter, email, and telephone; a micro response.  In addition Southwest Airlines also wrote a public post on their blog which addressed their community as a whole, a macro response.  Micro level responses are always human-to-human based interactions.  Macro level responses on the other hand are crafted by a human but are pushed out automatically such as when you publish a blog post; these responses are one to many.

Once the response is developed and pushed out, that response and subsequent feedback needs to go through the company CRM system to track the data and conversation for future use.  We then start back at the listening tool again and the cycle repeats.  Does all of that make sense?

I recently had an interesting chat with Mitch Lieberman, a VP over at Sugar CRM.  Some things we talked about where ‘where does a CRM platform fits in during this entire process?’ and ‘What data and information should the CRM system capture and what information should a database system capture?’  I don’t think we came to a definite conclusion so for now this is where I see CRM fitting in and now that I’m looking at the image again, perhaps the CRM tool only captures the data at the micro level response.

The reason this is important is because I feel that during most of our SCRM conversations on the web we neglect to actually include the CRM tool and where it fits in.

I’m actually curious where the 5M’s of Social CRM (that Jeremiah and Ray Wang put together) can fit into this process.  Consider the above image a first step in visualizing this process.

Ok, now it’s your turn.  What makes sense and what doesn’t?  What’s missing?  I already highlighted a few issues that I see with the image and I need to fix those.  Let’s work together on this and hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate your feedback into the next version of what this process can look like.

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  • http://scorpfromhell.blogspot.com scorpfromhell

    Nice inquiry into the Social CRM landscape there Jacob. May be this year old slideshare can help you with more aspects: http://j.mp/scrmarch It needs heavy duty updates, but thats a long pending action item from my end. :( Hopefully I can do justice to the various advances in tech & well as understanding about the SCRM IT Landscape pretty soon.

  • http://scorpfromhell.blogspot.com scorpfromhell

    BTW, this listening + workflow + CRM toolchain has already been built by us @Cognizant. This is what Paul Greenberg reviewed & mentioned in his review about us in his Companies to Watch in 2010 list: http://j.mp/pgcog My vision for the tools is to provide 'actionable insights', i.e, be able to take decisions based on the insights, act upon the decisions, manage (organize, monitor) the actions taken by the organiztion, as well as track its impact on the customers needs/wants/problems/issues/etc.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      Hey Prem,

      Thanks for sharing that, interesting stuff. I dled the white paper and explanations on your framework and am going to read through them. Sounds like you are up to some interesting things over at Cog.

  • laurenvargas

    SCRM is not a replacement for CRM..it is an extension of CRM and offers an online view of the customer. The goal for any organization is to have an holistic view of the customer/consumer at every touchpoint to improve service, process and business decisions. The tools/tech will continue to evolve, but the mapping of relationships will continue to be the goal.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6
    @VargasL

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      Hi Lauren,

      Of course, hence why I mentioned: “Social CRM is an evolution of CRM.” Definitely not saying that SCRM is replacing anything. I have a few ideas for how monitoring tools can help with this mapping, something I will share in the future.

      Thanks for the comment

  • http://www.rondegiusti.com/ Ron De Giusti

    When I think of Social Media I think of “MANY-TO-MANY” interactions. Twitter is a many-to-many broadcast medium.

    When I think of traditional CRM methods of managing lead/customer interactions they are all “ONE-TO-MANY” (e.g., marketing campaigns from you [one] to a list [MANY], etc.).

    So, when I think of Social CRM I think of ways to manage customer interactions in a MANY-TO-MANY scenario. Perhaps it is thru capturing a twitter stream that looks for mentions of your company name into your traditional CRM system or doing a marketing campaign thru a medium like Twitter and then capturing the results of that many-to-many marketing campaign thru your traditional CRM.

    I really like how you talked about keeping the technology separate from the social strategy aspect. The many-to-many interaction has existed since the beginning of time, way before the social media tools we use today. Perhaps it was the watering hole or the company picnic or a town hall meeting where many people gathered to have voices heard. The fact that we are now able to capture and analyze the data that is rising from many-to-many interactions versus our old method of one-to-many data capturing is what is changing.

    Very interesting topic. I personally love how the technology landscape is moving from a “structured data” world to a combined “structured and unstructued” world. And, social media is pushing us in that direction OR is our ability to capture those many-to-many conversations (i.e., technology) pushing us in that direction?

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      Hi Ron,

      Yes this is an interesting space to be in. twitter can actually serve as both a micro/macro response medium, however we can also use email and the phone as another form of micro response. Tech and strategy are separate but they are integrated. Social CRM is a strategy but it is enabled by technology. Thanks for your comments as always Ron!

  • http://freecrmstrategies.wordpress.com Brian Vellmure

    Jacob,

    Social CRM is about a lot more than just listening and responding, though this is a great place to start.

    The Customer Centric or Outside In approach to business really isn't new. Ironically, what is new is the technology. The Social Web has actually changed the landscape of not only CRM, and/or of business, but the very medium of human interaction. This is significant.

    Fundamentally, CRM is about aligning your entire value chain with your customer(s). Social channels open up new opportunities for this alignment.

    Though the principles are fundamental, the new opportunity actually exists because of advances in technology. Like always, though, technology won't do a thing by itself. And in fact, with misguided expectations, it can create more problems than solutions in many cases. But, great tools in the hands of skilled craftsman have always resulted in amazing results.

    Social channels have introduced unprecedented reach and unprecedented speed (vast and fast) by which we can listen and engage with customers, prospects, influencers, suppliers, and partners. In the end, though, turning the volume up on a cacophony of noise and broken systems and processes just makes things worse.

    In order to be truly successful, an organization needs to have great alignment of culture, strategy, vision, process, and enabling technology if this is ever going to work for them. Otherwise, a social presence or deploying a Social CRM initiative will simply be a facade on a broken organization.

    Specifically to your diagram, one of the challenges that many companies are facing or will face is one of scale. In your model above, the human interpretation step will represent a huge potential cost. Simply adding more humans into the human decision point won't work.

    Where you are right it that there needs to be a response from the organization in aggregate and on an individual basis. Figuring out the how, why, and when of those responses is where the real work will be done.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for the platform.

    Best regards,
    Brian

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  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    “The reason this is important is because I feel that during most of our SCRM conversations on the web we neglect to actually include the CRM tool and where it fits in.”

    That's the question I have as well which is the problem for most social media ideas/thoughts/ideology. Working on the brand side for most of my career, I don't see where the actual technology (beyond the social networks and listening tool) actually fit into the process. What does this technology look like? When, where, how is the data captured, stored, organized? How does it work beyond just storing data? What's the model for using it day to day within the organization? Who owns it (internally)?

    I am just asking these questions in general.

    And, as usual, great post buddy.

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    “The reason this is important is because I feel that during most of our SCRM conversations on the web we neglect to actually include the CRM tool and where it fits in.”

    That's the question I have as well which is the problem for most social media ideas/thoughts/ideology. Working on the brand side for most of my career, I don't see where the actual technology (beyond the social networks and listening tool) actually fit into the process. What does this technology look like? When, where, how is the data captured, stored, organized? How does it work beyond just storing data? What's the model for using it day to day within the organization? Who owns it (internally)?

    I am just asking these questions in general.

    And, as usual, great post buddy.

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