Making Sense of Social Media Chaos Through Social CRM

Social media chaos through social CRM lenses Sherrie’s post on social media and its promise as a customer listening tool was thought provoking. The social media world is full of chaos, and, everyone is wondering how to make sense of it. An enormous amount of rich information is now available on various social media channels in an unstructured way, and it’s outside the firewalls of companies. Now, CRM (customer relationship management) thinkers and doers realize that they need to capture the on-going conversations outside their realm, listen to customers conversations and act on them in a way that support the mutual benefits. This thinking is reflected in the concept and practices of social CRM.

What is Social CRM

CRM thought leader Paul Greenberg has defined social CRM as a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.

Role of Social CRM

According to Paul Greenberg, social CRM is an extension of CRM, not a replacement. Traditional CRM was about aggregating dispersed customer data, and making the data already inside the company widely accessible throughout the company. Social CRM is about aggregating and disseminating the customer conversations dispersed across social media sites widely accessible at the edges of a company where the appropriate department can respond. Customer service may respond to a billing issue; tech support may offer help to resolve a problem; product management may make note of a feature request. However, social CRM is not only about responding to the customers’ conversations, it is also about taking initiatives to engage customers in meaningful conversations to build a real community.

Through social CRM, companies have the opportunity to interact with customers during the consumption process to co-create superior value-in-use; in other words, companies can shape and enhance the consumption experiences. And, for enhancing these experiences, social CRM includes both:

i) Responding to the consumers’ conversations
ii) Initiating and facilitating conversations and interactions

To navigate through the social media chaos (without getting stuck in that), both these aspects of social CRM need to be addressed. In the next few blogs, I look forward to address these issues in more detail with the implications of social CRM for marketing research, survey research and data and text analytics.
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