Social Business Builds Brand Equity

27 06 2012

Social business has mainly been discussed in terms of what it can do for the company in terms of efficiency of Knowledge Management and Sharing and the impact it has on the organization and culture. One of the aspects of Social Business that so far is under-exposed is the positive (or negative…) impact on the way customers perceive the brand and thus the influence it has on their buying behavior. In this post I will briefly outline how Social Business and Brand Equity are related and help to reframe your thinking about Social Business and why it can be a sound market approach for your organization.

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Service Agility thru Adaptive Case Management

27 10 2010

Who hasn’t been there? After waiting 20 minutes on hold with Customer Service, then 15 mins for explaining your problem, the Contact Center Agent says she is really sorry, but can’t do anything about resolving  it because something first has to be done by some other department, or it the system won’t let her do what needs to be done as this isn’t in the process, even though it should be simple and straightforward to do.

The customer is frustrated because she need to call some other number and explain everything all over again, and the agent is becomes frustrated and may take it out on collegues, or worse – the next client in the caller cue! The example above is an issue of empowerment and system inflexibility, but also of process rigidity. The rigidity of the process has just killed the positive customer experience.

What happens when BPM breaks down?

Thanks to Taylorism we spend bucketloads of money to model our understanding of how things should work, hoping to recoup the time and energy in the long run thru process efficiencies. Although this may work well for Easily Repeatable Processes (20%-40% of the time), resolving Barely Repeatable Processes effciently and sustainably will be a key challenge to meet, especially as customers now have more choice and are more informed through their social network and are more sensitive to how their ‘experience suppliers’ cater to their needs.

BPM and Social BPM

Business Process Management (whcih is part of what I did in my previous role) solves a real business need by identifying, modeling and optimizing processes – cutting work into repeatable parts and adding decision trees to ultimately lead to a known outcome. It is characterised by heavy upfront investment in modeling which the company intends to recoup through efficiences in the long run. However, BPM is not a panacae as it can be a straight-jacket leading to customer and employee  frustration when exceptions occur (and inevitably they do), with little or no ability to adapt the model once it has been set. Especially not by those that go through the drill everyday such as your Contact Center Agents!

There is a good group of people and companies looking at at how to make improvements, gathered under the heading “Social BPM”. As Tom Allensen says: “Social BPM is basically just collaborative business process management utilizing a collective network environment – it’s about extending BPM access and decision-making to partners and select external parties without compromising the exclusivity of the core group.” Michael zur Muehlen adds: “Social is all about providing context, a rich environment of data points that a streamlined workflow would be lacking otherwise. The challenge is to make this context useful, both from a social networking perspective and from an unstructured data perspective.”

So Social BPM is about getting all those concerned involved (and why not the customer?) and about collaborating whilst taking the context of the task at hand into account.  Although this approach certainly has its merits to get people to collaborate effectively on process steps within a pre-existing model, it still does not add flexibility and agility to reaching the desired objective or outcome in case of non-modeled exceptions. If exceptions do take place, employees just revert back to email and the company could lose thread of what is going on, making it unable to capture insights for continous improvement and learn from them.

Adaptive Case Management

I’ve been looking at the potential of Adaptive Case Management (ACM) as a framework for guiding and structuring issue resolution (or even collaboration in general), relying on the insights and experience of knowledge workers (such as your agents), pulling together the right resources to make informed decisions at each step based on the context, and choosing and adapting next steps as necessary to reach the desired outcome.

ACM makes a distinction between routine and expert processes. Routine processes are prime candidates for modeling whereas expert processes are emergent and the domain of Knowledge Workers – they give the organisation the flexibility to adapt and respond to changes around it. ACM also aims to bring understanding, visibility and control to  unpredictable knowledge work and serves to make routine work processes more reliable. It doesn’t set out replace BPM or workflow, but adds to the tools that the organisation can leverage to be sustainable and resilient to changing expectations and conditions.

Adaptive Case Management sets goals that describe what must be done rather than how the process must be done. It provides guidelines and looks to Knowledge Worker experience on how to achieve the goals but does not dictate the work or the flow itself. Control is achieved through tracking deadlines and goals, and having a case owner responsible for the process results. The flow is organised around the context and content assets, and can be modified to bring in participants as needed based on the availability of information and expertise.

My focus is on the customer and customer experience and ACM applies to non-routine Customer Service, but is equally valid for for example Sales Processes (such replying to an RFP, customizing a product to a client’s need), Loan Management, Financial Audits, Innovation, Strategy Implementation : basically anything that requires collaboration and negotiation. As another more concrete example, who knows beforehand how a patient will be treated when entering an Emergency Room? The flow of events that lead to the patient leaving the hospital in good health is highly unpredictable but is guided by fragments of processes (diagnosis, CAT-scan, medication, operation etc.) that are assembled as the situation evolves and more information becomes available.

This is a quick (certainly not exhausive) introduction to the concept of ACM, which in my opinion can be a valid framework for guiding emergent Knowledge Work – which Enterprise 2.0 is ideally suited to facilitate! In my opinion, E20 has been putting a lot of emphasis on devising the tools to improve information flows within an organisation to the detriment of actually helping the employees do their task at hand better. Where it can add a lot of value is by organising the content assets, identifying the people with the right expertise at the right time, and facilitating information flows and sharing, as well as tracking and consolidating lessons learned by capturing fragments as templates and distributing these. Social CRM – through Social Analytics – can help by providing a better insight into the context which can then be used by Knowledge Workers as information inputs on which to base their decisions, choose the next steps and who could provide the right expertise, which can include partners, suppliers and of course customers!

In my coming post I will discuss Adaptive Case Management in more detail as I think this has great potential to for linking Enterprise 2.0, social CRM, business and social analytics on the road to Social Business and the Collaborative Enterprise. Together they provide framework for work in an agile organisation.

I’ll be at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara (8-11/11 2010) to participate in a customer panel on social CRM. I’ll be happy to meet and exchange ideas on the above subject when I’m there. Drop me a note and we can arrange to meet!

Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM Converge towards the Collaborative Enterprise

17 06 2010

[tweetmeme source=”MarkTamis” service=””]At the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Milan where Esteban Kolsky and I presented the “The New Era of Customer Engagement with Social CRM“, I spoke with Emanuele Quintarelli of Open Knowledge who organized the event – and he did a very good job I might add!.  During our conversation Emanuele made the remark that Social CRM has now become an accepted part of the agenda in comparison with last year. Participants attending the previous edition found it strange to even mention customers when discussing E2.0 and preferred to focus on the software solutions – but this year this seems to have changed completely.
It was thus of particular interest to me to note was that the notion of the Social Customer and that we need to organise to engage is starting to gain traction from the protagonists of Enterprise 2.0 (see Bertrand Duperrin’s take on it here).  For example, Emanuele Scotti’s opening speech dealt with changing needs and behaviors of the Social Customer, followed by Sameer Patel‘s excellent Keynote who continued on by talking about how companies should organize for customers that want to interact with the company (and not only be passive buyers). And as a sidenote – on the vendor side, Jive Software for example is adding “Social CRM features” and repositioning itself as as a “Social Business” platform provider.

In my opinion the discussion around Enterprise 2.0 has been too internal-facing and focused on the tools, rather than what the objectives for collaborating actually are. The market is maturing though as we see the approach evolve from innovators to early adopters. This was especially evident when looking at the agenda of the Milan edition, in contrast to the Boston edition that is still more focused on the software “solutions” (go ahead and deploy this module and you are now a “Social Business”..NOT!). Could it be that Europe is leading the way in its understanding of what it takes (culture, organisation, customer focus, employee engagement…)?

Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0

Although collaboration in customer driven organisations in not a new concepts (albeit still exceptional rather than a rule), Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM were meant for each other. a Social CRM customer engagaement programme that has no link back into the enterprise risks becoming cloistured in whichever department that decides to pick up on it first – thus risking incoherent experiences when a customer interacts with another department for whatever reason. Enterprise 2.0 on the other hand has been about collaboration, but  sometimes it seems that it is just for Collaboration’s sake. What Social CRM brings to the party is a compelling business reason, namely to collaborate for, around and with the customer to better meet desired outcomes.

Social Business as the Business Model

In my opinion the next step is the “Collaborative Enterprise”, organised around understanding customer jobs and collaborating with the ecosystem (customers, employees, partners, suppliers, channels) to deliver on the desired outcomes. This is not about about implementing Web 2.0 technology to make your organisation “Social”, but rather using the means available to facilitate communication and knowledge flows to get the customer job done. Furthermore, it is about organising the enterprise on its road to becoming a customer-driven, customer-focused extended company, and facilitating systemic integration to achieve this – as described by Ranjay Gulati in his excellent book “Reorganize for Resilience“.
It is not about introducing new tools to do business in roughly the same way – only more effectively and efficiently, it is about adapting our business model to become a Social Business so as to take into account changes in the business environment, most notably the advent of the Social Customer.

The Collaborative Enterprise

The “collaborative enterprise” is one such approach of adapting the business model. The basic premise is that it serves as an interaction and reference hub through which stakeholders can collaborate to match expectations with outcomes – mainly of customers, but also all other parties – by first and foremost understanding what these are and putting the mechanisms and processes in place to gather and share insights and act upon them. The idea is not only to “collaborate” with  your customers by interacting and engaging with them and thus glean actionable insights, but  also extend this by collaborating with other stakeholders to combine their understanding with yours so as to provide the desired outcomes such as a satisfactory end-to-end customer experience – presale, sale and postsale, or by shaping your new offering through collaborative innovation etc.

I’d like to add here that your unique understanding of your customers and what their desired outcomes are, form the basis for your competitive advantage. The product you manufacture, I can build in China or wherever far cheaper than you can, the service package you offer I can copy very quickly, but the relation you have with your customers which allows you to meet their expectations – and which draws new customers to you – I cannot readily emulate.

I’ll look at the above in more detail in follow-up posts, let me know whether you want me to look at something in particular. Also please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts, I’m keen to hear them!

Social CRM and Social Business

18 02 2010

Last week had the privilege of attending the CRM Seminar on “Social CRM for Business” organised by BPT Partners, where Paul Greenberg managed to attract a large number the world’s thought leaders on Social CRM and market players during a two-day event in a snowed-in Westin Hotel in Washington DC. To the members of the #SCRM Accidental Community it felt like the culmination point (hence the term #scrmsummit 😉 ) after many, many months of tweet conversation, blogging and commenting, skype chatting that have helped us shape our ideas of what a Social CRM Strategy could look like as well as the promise it holds concerning how business can be changed for the benefit of all parties involved. It was great to meet in person finally!

I won’t go and repeat the ideas that have already been put forward by other participants (you can find the links below), but I’ll cut through the chase and give you my takeaway.

The Social Customer is now a given (even though I believe the degree of which she is may vary per country…), and basically always has been around. Contrary to the past, these customers now have the ability to find, reach out and converse with like-minded souls from around the globe, it has exploded. They’re abe to join and leave such tribes and communities provides them with great flexibility to create firm or loose ties as they so please. They are starting to become more and more aware of their power they can bring to bear when they act as a group and are able to bear more pressure as a group, leaving many companies in disarray.

Stop shouting

Rather than turn to your company for their information needs about your product or services, they now turn to their peers who they overwhelmingly trust more than they do you. It is the End of Business As Usual (cf The Cluetrain), no more only Outbound Marketing (some would say “shouting”…), you now have to pay closer attention to what is being said about you, where it is being said, why it being said and strive to anticipate where the conversation is going: The new Marketing Logic is Customer centricity through engagement and collaboration, but on the customers’ terms. Authenticity and trust is what matters – more than even the “consistency” of the message.

What really stuck with me was the idea about the Collaborative Value Chain which extends the Enterprise Value Chain of Company, partners/channel, vendors/suppliers, external agencies to include the Customers. The Customer Experience is central, and the whole ecosystem contributes to providing one that is superb, and that includes “knowing what the customer thinks and involving her in your thinking on a systematic, ongoing basis”.

The main question for me following Paul’s seminar is how to organise our companies for Social CRM. As I’ve stated in my Twitter bio since I opened the account, I am excited about Social CRM as an organisational change agent. I believe it is the compelling reason for Enterprise 2.0 implementation whose mantra is to get people to collaborate across the width and breadth of the company. But all to often I get the feeling that the pitch has been about the tools and that people are asked to collaborate for the mantra’s sake (I will follow up on this in a later post).

Social CRM makes Enterprise 2.0 a necessity for “responding to the customer’s control of the conversation” (P.Greenberg) and extends it to include the whole Collaborative Value Chain. This brings me to Social Business, on which Esteban Kolsky tried to explain in this post on The Social Customer I commented that my idea is as follows : “Social Business is the optimisation of the Collaborative Value Chain for customer-centric business.”. Esteban said that there were too many fancy words, so we settled on it being when Customers, Organizations, Suppliers, and Partners work together to optimize the value of doing business together”.

This leads me to the last bit, the why of going down the Social CRM / Social Business Strategy route. If there is only compelling reason it is to ultimately to run your business more efficiently, leverage the customer experience to increase your customer base and ensuring that everyone involved is able to optimize the value they extract and exchange so they will continue to want to collaborate.

Products can be built in the World’s Factory at short notice. Services are easily imitated. Your competitive advantage will be your Customer Base and their ability to advocate your company and persuade their peers to do business with you.

So what do you think, is the idea of Social Business disruptive on the organisation, or a natural evolution?

Once again, thank you to Paul Greenberg for providing us with a platform that has finally allowed us to meet and exchange. It really felt like it was a defining moment for Social CRM as a Practice. Merci!

If you would like some additional points of view on the event, I suggest you take a look at the posts byattendees  Mitch Lieberman,  Michael Krigsman, Brent Leary, Kevin Paschuck, Mike Fauscette, Dr Natalie Petouhoff, Prem Kumar, Brian Vellmure, Kathy Herrmann, Mike Boysen

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Social Learning and Customer Engagement

9 12 2009

One of the approaches to improving Customer Engagement and Experiences I’d like to explore is the potential to include customers, partners and suppliers in the Social Learning process. One of the drawbacks of an customer ideation platform/community is that more than 99% of the ideas are never looked at or implemented because they do not take into account the business context and constraints.

Whilst ideation may be a good source for innovation for companies, they can be a source of dissatisfaction for those customers who submitted ideas if they do not receive any acknowledgement for the effort they put into it. So rather than feeling closer to your brand and becoming advocates for it, the quite opposite may occur.

The approach that I would advocate is to educate the customer about your brand and its environment, even let them actively get involved in your internal Social Learning processes of continously striving to gain new knowledge and insights. By infusing ideas from outside of the silos of your organisation, you may discover innovative ideas that will give your company a competitive advantage.

Crowdsourcing has lost favour a little due to the number of uninformed suggestions that bubble up and which generate a lot of overhead to percolate into useful innovations. Smartsourcing has been put forward as a better approach, relying on the ‘better elements’ in your community to exchange with for customer insights. As such I agree with this, but I believe there is an even greater opportunity for informed innovation through the education and deeper implication of those we wish to engage with for smartsourcing by implicating them in collaborative learning.

Education and customer collaboration has the potential to create a real and very deep level of engagement, and thus the germination of fervent customer advocates, who in turn entice others to join this process (and increase the smartsourcing base for qualified innovation).

As Harold Jarche points out in the comments below, I herewith add that the objective of this type of collaborative learning would be to close the loop, not only take the feedback but reinjecting it back into the customer communitites and so on with insights so that we get a virtuous learning cycle. And by being open with your social learning approach, you will lower the barrier for new entrants and thus new points of view and sources for innovation, as well as sending a clear signal to the rest of the customer base that you are listening and collaborating to take their needs into account.

There is of course the (perceived?) risks of competitors glaning information and using it to their advantage, but examples have shown that this risk can actually be a driver for more rapid innovation integration such as Sage has shown with its ACT! community.

To summarize, I believe there is an opportunity to create a collaborative community learning platform that will ultimately lead to informed ideation and nurture more fervent customer advocates.

Let me know your thoughts, am I completely off-track, or is this the TGV to Customer Engagement?

The Future of the Training Department

6 12 2009
In my previous role at BEA Systems/Oracle, I created and managed a Professional Services business unit for training clients on the implementation of Enterprise Portals (including Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Content Management, Integration of third-party products) and Business Process Management tools. I have been exchanging with many people on twitter, mainly on the topic of Social CRM, but I keep my eye open to the topic of Enterprise Learning, and from time to time I exchange tweets with Frédéric Domon (@fdomon). So I was happy to be asked to contribute to the Enterprise Collaborative Initiative 🙂 Enterprise Collaborative - Ecollab 250x250

Social Learning seems to me to be an innovative approach to continuous learning (I am an eternal student of life myself). From what I understand, the idea is to use the web 2.0 to enable free-flow collaborative learning that builds upon the insights of others and leads to new ones. This is advocated in opposition to the more traditional, structured instructor-led top-down approach to learning (tell me if I’m wrong?).

Though I do believe that there is a valid argument to the collaborative approach, I believe there should be a juxtaposition with the traditional one.  In my opinion be, what is learned through collaborative learning should formalised, structured an made available as traditional learning. The main reason behind this thinking is that there is a risk to create barriers to new entrants to access and acquire the knowledge of the ‘regulars’. One could argue that the regulars could do knowledge transfer – which is great in theory – but who has the  resources to do so (time, effort, motivation)? I think it will simply not scale.

I would advocate the following schema for new entrance to empower newcomers to become active contributors.

Formal training

Baseline knowledge transfer (developed through a ‘community effort’, extracted from the results of collaborative learning process) to acquire the thinking patterns, guiding principles or just plain knowledge elements.

Skills and knowledge Transfer

Exchange with and guidance from the community to put into practice, get up to speed,

Collaborative Exchange

Continuous learning to further one’s own ideas and incorporating those of others, attracting newcomers to infuse new insights and ideas, and synthetisation, formalisation and diffusion of current knowledge to reduce barriers to entry

The training department can play an important role, especially in the the formalisation and diffusion area, assisting newcomers in their entry and identifying those whom they can help in improving their social learning skills in order to improve the collaborative learning experience for all.

When getting a customer or system integrator up to speed for successful project implementation, my experience has found that it was more beneficial to have everyone talking the same language and understand the base principles (base knowledge), and have this followed through by co-development with subject-matter experts (the Consulting department) to acquire the Best Practices. This I believe was a good basis for both the customer and integrator to effectively communicate and progress in unison towards the desired outcome of the project, whilst leaving sufficient leeway for collaborative learning to achieve improvements beyond the inital goals. Even though the primary subject of Entreprise Collaborative concentrates on internal-facing issues, the above ideas are valid in this context as well.

Would you agree with this point of view? Please leave your thoughts below so that we can all learn from this together 🙂

On Social CRM Options

5 10 2009

The discussion around Social CRM is entering a phase whereby we are trying to move away from turning around in circles about semantics, towards a more practical and pragmatic approach that businesses can identify with so as to consider implementing it. I won’t deal with CRM Vendors here, as Social CRM can be seen as an extension to CRM. As a primer on SCRM I suggest you look at Bill Band’s article on Customer Think. The main idea that we all do agree upon is that we need to become customer-centric in order to respond to their changing needs and expectations, and this may have some major ramifications on the way we organise our businesses.

Wim Rampen recently did a must-read post on Real-Options for Social CRM, with great comments from the #scrm crew. If you’re like me, you have been looking around for what these options could be – sifting through all the information links provided through the accidental community on Twitter #scrm- so that you can start mapping your own options and seeing where they would fit in an approach that is apt for your business situation. Below I have tried to describe some of the the landmarks that you may encounter on your  journey. Please join in and tell me what I’ve missed!

1. Monitoring and Analysis

We have settled on the idea that we cannot manage what is being said about us (as long there is any Buzz we should be happy, right?). What we do need to do is understand what is being said and for which reasons. We also need to do some introspection and find out whether we are aligned with customer perceptions about our business, and this is where monitoring and analysis comes in.

– Social Media Monitoring
 Twitter, FB, Search Engine Result Analysis, crawling non-managed forums, or whatever this month’s Black is  (according to Altimeter you need at least 6 channels to be an Maven).

– Sentiment Analysis
Natural Language Processing in order to extract opinions – automation of Social Media Analysis

– Customer Surveys, Website-, Call Center-, Customer Support Feedback, Email Campaign Results
Feedback from other channels should not be neglected – Social CRM is not only about feedback obtained through Social Media channels. I suggest reading Aggregated Stats Are Key to Social Media ROI

The return of this could be used to shape your Marketing Strategy (Social Media and traditional) or for even for Lead Generation. Vendors in this area are Radian6, Scout Labs (see list), or for the budgetarily-challenged Open Source/Freemium

2. Social Media Marketing

I know I am over-simplifying, but sometimes I think SMM has sofar mostly been facilitating banner clickthroughs based on adwords and user browsing history and the likes to push trafic to brochure websites in the best case, and buckshot email spam in the worst. Consumers are however becoming more web-savvy and filter out these ads from the content they are interested in so this is becoming less effective.

Community and conversation is all – if the consumers trust the community, they will extend the trust to the brand (Brand and Marketing trends for 2010). People have spontaneously gathered for example on Facebook, now companies are trying to get in on the act by setting up their own Fan Pages (at their own risk and peril, I must add…). These communities offer the company the opportunity to engage in the conversation, but it still very much an unstructured, resource intensive approach. My take on SMM will be aimed at driving people towards and participate in Brand Communities (point 3) where monitoring what is happening and identifying causal relationships will be more manageable. See Junta42 42+ Social Media Marketing Tools.

3. Brand Communities

Providing a platform that can house a community around your Brand and attracts prospective customers would be the next step. The objective is not to gain control, but rather better monitor what is going on, find opportunities, work on your reputation by adding value rater than pushing a message, and react in a timely manner to any issues.

I would like to split this out into three separate areas (even though they could share the same platform provided by the same vendor)

– Social Support Communities
Peer-to-peer Support can be great means for finding out what customers have issues with concerning your offering, as well as deflect calls from your Customer Support, leaving them with more time the more difficult cases or just to go beyond the Call Handling Time and focus on the Customer Interaction (see Cicero). To me this type of community because sometimes its super-users can provide more value than has its merits for because ROI can be shown (see John Bauer’s comment on SCRM for SMBs, reduce by at least 10% your case load).

– Social Objects Communities
In an earlier post, I set out to give a name to another type of community that has as its purpose to provide a platform for people to socialize around “Social Objects”. Barnes & Noble Review would be a good example of this. It is said that participants have a higher average customer spend and higher customer lifetime spend on the B&N site (any hard datafacts, Lithium?). Furthermore upsell opportunities are placed into the community site to drive revenue.

– Ideation
Behind this is the objective to create communities where customers would put forward ideas for the company (crowdsourcing). Where they have failed is that the ideas not always were in line with the operational realities or objectives of the company, and are often left unanswered (leading to dissatisfaction). Graham Hill has written an interesting article on co-creation that has some insights on what could be a better approach to co-creation.

Players here are Lithium Technologies, Helpstream, Parature. Prem Kumar recently mentioned on John F. Moore’s blog that there are Open Source solutions out there, I think they do not (yet) have the monitoring & analysis capabilities that we’d be looking for here

4. Feedback Management

Our friend Esteban Kolsky is very keen on this one. The main idea behind this is that we take existing data available through the CRM system about our customers (not only profile information) and mix it so that get a full 360° view that includes history and information gathered from monitoring and analysis as well as information from 3rd parties. Just as there is a market now for Credit Score informatin, there may be a time when companies sell trend information to other companies as a by-product. Imagine if PayPal or eBay were to make historical purchase data available!

FM has the potential to analyse and determine a response and who should be dealing with formulating it (add a dash of Business Process Management?). The wikipedia link has a list of  vendors, no actor has a significant advantage as far as I know

5. Response Communities

In the way that Brand Communities can be used for customers to share and collaborate, the same platform could also be used to let cross-functional teams (and even cross-organisational if we also include partners and suppliers)  collaborate on the response to the events generated in EFM. Super-users could be identified and nurtured in the same way as in the Brand Communities.

Response Communities only really make sense once your company has learned how to collaborate internally – which takes us to Enterprise 2.0 (the collaboration kind, not the knowledge management one…). Internal networking will create the right mindset to then go out and collaborate with customers, for value co-creation. 

6. Insourcing

Insourcing is about allowing your employees to collaborate directly with your customers, such as your store personnel providing product informationor answer support questions through the likes of Twitter (see Best Buy’s Twelpforce). This can increase the breadth of your response by added more voices to the conversation than just your customer service and support reps, but increases the risks of potential blunders. Good, clear and precise policies can help to mitigate these risks.

I am aware that I have probably missed out on some elements (and have not developed each of the bullet-points sufficiently) but my objective here is to give a quick overview, a starting point. Please chime in and add your point of view!

Social Enterprise 2.0?

3 09 2009

We are slowly coming to a common definition of Social CRM, but I suggest that we should actually be taking it far further. Social CRM is the link between Social Media, Online Customer Communities and traditional CRM (an extension to CRM, Paul Greenberg et al), and CRM is just a part of what we do within our companies to bring products and services to our customers.

If you come to think about it though, your whole company should be geared towards interacting with the customer to provide the best possible experience. and in order to make this happen, an environment needs to be created that strips down the walls between the silos in the company, and allow people to collaborate with internal staff (using Enterprise 2.0), but also collaborate with those out beyond the traditional boundaries (through the use of Social CRM) – namely the customers. Rather than take the ‘Us and Them’ approach, work towards the ‘We’ collaboration model so that everyone involved will get the highest perceived value from engaging with each other.

This approach will require a radical rethink in the way we organise our companies in the Omnipresent Social Media Age. We’re are the forefront of a real revolution, I’m looking forward to riding the wave. Cowabunga!

enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM

2 09 2009

I met with Bernard Parisot and Catherine Chapuis of Net7 in Paris today to exchange with them on the subject of Social CRM. Net-7 consists of a number of C-Level Executives who have founded a company to provide expertise to Senior Management in many different sectors. They have often come across the issues involved implementing CRM systems so I highly value their input and experience!

The key point that I took away from this meeting is that not only do you need to put the right Social CRM tools in place to better communicate with your client base, you also need to gear your organisation in order to create a mindset that facilitates this interaction. Not only do internal employees need to come to grips with using the tools, analysing the data that comes out of them, but they also need to understand that they need to reach out and communicate with the other ‘silos’ that exist within their company. Information should flow freely and correlations should bubble up in order to create a synergy that will help to better serve the customer and provide her with what she is looking after.

Not only does a company looking to integrate Social CRM need to acquire the technology to allow them to interact with the customer and analyse data patterns, but also change organisational behaviour to become the much-touted ‘Enterprise 2.0’  – all this to better serve the customer’s needs. This is where experience and expertise can be a great asset – look at what is available when choosing your CRM system, be it from the vendor’s Professional Services or your favourite SI!

The other main topic is convincing the C-Suite crowd of the ROI that can be obtained by the implementation of this extension to traditional CRM – but will be the subject of another blogpost 🙂