Webster's Dictionary defines "social CRM" as...no, just kidding. Trying to concretely define social customer relationship management is tricky, as a simple Google search will show. There's no one definitive and explicit meaning, so much as a conglomeration of opinions and buzzwords like "social media", "engagement", and "integration."
Paul Greenberg, author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light, defines social customer relationship management this way:
"CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation."
In an article at destinationCRM.com, Dan Schleifer offers up a new interpretation of this widely accepted definition. Schleifer posits that classic CRM has put the emphasis largely on listening. The benefits of listening to your customer via such tools as surveys and market research are massive and shouldn't be overlooked, but his point is that, with the tools available in today's market, social CRM needs to be about interaction and proactivity as well as simply responding to customer feedback. Social CRM should be used to incorporate all aspects of an organization to ensure that the messages being delivered are the right ones.
Here is Schleifer's tweak to Greenberg's definition:
"Social CRM is defined as a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes, and social characteristics, designed to prepare sellers for the best conversation and engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment."
So while engaging the customers is important, Schleifer is calling attention to the fact that if your sellers aren't on-message in their conversations with the customer, it doesn't matter how attentive, collaborative, or interactive they are. Put together a great team with a well thought-out message before interacting with your customer to stop reacting to CRM findings and start making waves.
How do you define social CRM? Do you think Schleifer makes a good point, or is he focusing too closely on sellers rather than the entire organization's use of CRM?