The Social CRM Process

April 5, 2010
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I’m speaking at the New Communications Forum in a few weeks on Social CRM and I’ve been doing a bit of researching and thinking around this topic.  I wanted to give all of 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.  Afterall 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 2 cents.  The listening tool which I highlighted below is of course purely social media and online based, however I neglected to put things in such as customer surveys, phone calls that customers put in, angry letters

I’m speaking at the New Communications Forum in a few weeks on Social CRM and I’ve been doing a bit of researching and thinking around this topic.  I wanted to give all of 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.  Afterall 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 2 cents.  The listening tool which I highlighted below is of course purely social media and online based, however I neglected to put things in such as customer surveys, phone calls that customers put in, 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 a very basic high level (online) Social CRM Process looks like currently.  I had a few great chats with Paul Greenberg who encouraged me to just role with my ideas so here we go.  I’ll adapt and modify my ideas over time but for now let’s walk through this:

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 he/she 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 had an interested chat with Mitch Lieberman recently who is a VP over at Sugar CRM.  One of the things we talked about was where a CRM platform fits in during this entire process.  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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