I was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and was asked what the three most important things are for small businesses as they pertain to Social CRM (this applies to large businesses as well). My response focused on listening, acting, and integrating the customer into the business. Here’s a brief high level run-down of what each involve.
Nothing new here right (I hope)? The entire starting point for SCRM is being able to listen to what your customers have to say about your product, your brand, and your competition. This is where tools such as Biz 360, Google Alerts, and others come into play. You have to really understand where your customers exist online and what sort of conversations are taking place. These can range from support issues to general feedback related discussions.
Again, hopefully nothing new here but still something important to address and something that I feel companies are still struggling with. Listening is an important first step but without action, listening is not effective. Acting breaks down into two parts. The first is acting on something internally within the enterprise (perhaps a product feature suggestion or marketing idea). The second is acting on something directly with your customers such as solving a support issue online (think Comcast). Take a simple example of companies that have Twitter accounts or Facebook Fan Pages yet do not utilize these assets for anything more than a customer database aggregator. In either of the mentioned areas, it’s crucial for your customers to know and feel as though you are taking action and not just staring at them with eyes glazed over.
Integrating the Customer
This is something I believe is at the heart of Social CRM and really focuses on improving the customer experience and creating advocates. Integrating the customer takes listening and acting to the next level by essentially bringing in customers to act as if they are a part of your company. We have seen this somewhat with various support communities on sites such as Dell or with Comcast where customers actually help solve each other’s problems online. Customers are oftentimes rewarded by being given a voice in future product development or road map plans (as well as other incentives). Customer need to have more say on what happens within the enterprise and need to be more involved with decision making. Currently, many companies still have this belief that they can develop a new product or marketing campaign and then push it out to the consumer. Companies should be marketing and developing new products or services alongside their customers and not just what they think their customers want.
If you were asked for your list of top three things for businesses as they pertain to Social CRM, what would you say?