So what is sCRM? To me, sCRM is everything that a company does to deal with the above changes in communication patterns introduced by social media. This involves many aspects of business. Clearly the technology has to change. Instead of managing the conversation with X number of customers, sCRM systems must track and manage roughly X-squared number of conversations among the customers. Since these conversations are unstructured, sCRM systems must be intelligent enough to interpret and understand the conversation on the social web. Sentiment scoring is one but only the very first step in this analysis. Moreover, since there is no way for employees to engage and respond to every customer conversation, sCRM systems must enable business processes by prioritizing and routing the relevant conversations to the proper responder – in other words they have to scale with the company and the audience.
Aside from technology, new strategies and business processes must be in place to collaborate with people outside your company. I once said “the only way any organization can scale with social, is via social.” So companies must learn to work with their advocates, influencers and superusers to co-create value with them. Whether it is answering technical questions about your product, helping to spread your marketing message, or defending your brand, not only are these non-corporate affiliates crucial for scaling, they are actually more effective than the voices of the company.
There should be some level of change to the internal structure of the organization to facilitate the interaction between the support, marketing, sales, and product department within the company. The social customers see the company as one corporate entity (one Twitter account, one Facebook fan page, just like any other users), not a conglomerate of disparate departments. The relationship that sCRM manages should be the relationship between your customers and your brand; it shouldn’t be the relationship between your customers and the departments within your company. Breaking down some of the organizational walls not only provides a more seamless customer experience, it will also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run.
Finally, sCRM involves a change in the philosophy and the culture of the company. As conversations become more transparent, companies must engage social customers with authenticity and learn how to be more customer-centric. You may have 10,000 employees watching the social stream, but the whole world is watching yours.
Who owns social? I honestly think it’s owned by everyone. It is certainly everyone’s responsibility to know what the social customers are saying about their brand. The company may have guidelines on how to respond and interact on in the social web. But as the Gen-Z enters the work force, what used to be guidelines will simply become part of normal social conduct and etiquette for the new generation.