Definition of Social CRM – Questions & Answers

In my previous post titled Definition of Social CRM – Explained!, I provided a detailed explanation about what is Social CRM. I received many excellent comments in response to that post and wanted to answer some of the questions about the definition.

To begin with let me reiterate the definition of Social CRM:

Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty.

Loyalty is defined as attitude towards a brand that inclines a customer to repurchase it and/or recommend it to others. Social CRM and Social Media are more about building trust and managing loyalty with customers than about managing relationships or transactions, which are focus areas of “traditional” CRM.

Now on to the questions:

Q: Why this definition refers to Social CRM as a business strategy and not calling it technology, system, processes etc.. etc..?

A: Strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Social CRM is a plan of action to build Trust and Loyalty. Calling Social CRM “technology”, “system” and “processes” is a misnomer. While executing Social CRM (strategy), technological tools will be used to achieve the goal – but tools are different from plan. It is very important to remember this distinction between Strategy (plan) and Tools (technology, systems).

Q: If Social CRM is a strategy, why mention Social Media in the definition?

A: It is very important to mention Social Media in the definition because Social Media has introduced the “trust” dimension to marketing equation. Before the Social Media age, Trust in marketing relationship was limited to face-to-face interactions (like friendly neighborhood coffee shop or grocery shop). What Social Media has done is to make it possible for any one to have the same sort of one-to-one relationship irrespective of geography. This kind of one-to-one relationships based on mutual “trust” are not possible through “traditional” CRM channels like phone, mail or emails. Moreover, interactions via Social Media are not only “public”, but are indexed and displayed by most search engines in “real time”, thereby having the potential to influence consumer behavior on a massive scale. Effective use of Social Media channels and tools are critical to successful execution of Social CRM strategy, hence I have included Social Media in my definition.

Q: sCRM helps companies make sense of and act on data that they collect from social customer interactions. This can be via phone, email, feedback forms, or anything else. Companies don’t have to use Social Media to do this.

A: Social CRM strategy can help companies “make sense of and act on data that they collect from social customer interactions”. But that is only part of the equation (Listen and Learn). Social Media is much more powerful than being just a medium for listening and learning. It provides a platform for engaging customers in a meaningful conversation for building Trust and Loyalty, and that is what Social CRM is about. Not just for “recording” or “managing transactions” of Customers’ Social Interactions.

Q: What is in it for the consumer?

A: Loyalty, Trust and Engagement. Company has to “earn” trust and loyalty of its Customers through Engagement. And to earn that trust and loyalty – a company has to consistently delight/exceed expectation of customers. This is the big deal for customers. Company doing all it can to earn that Loyalty (providing great product, service at competitive prices – Value for money). This is what is in there for the Customers. Customer is the King (or Queen) in Social Age!

Q: Why your definition is company and business centric?

A: Social CRM is for companies as companies are going to engage customers – not other way around. You have to view customer engagement from stand point of the company not customer.

Hope this post answers many common questions relating to Social CRM. Would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and opinion on what is Social CRM.

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