Tag Archives: segmentation

On Communities, Cheese, and Ciboodle Launching a New Product

Intriguing title, right?  Promise, there is a method to the madness… stay tuned.

One of my clients (Ciboodle – officially known as Sword-Ciboodle) launched their community platform yesterday (Ciboodle Crowd).  You can read more about it and watch a video here.

That is the “official press-release” part of this post — but it is also related to the rest… read on.

Now, when I was at Gartner last week I stopped by their booth and we did a short video where they asked me for the relationship between cheese and customer service.  They did the same with other wonderful friends like Paul Greenberg, Michael Maoz, and Mitch Lieberman (there may be more, they are being stingy and releasing only two each day).  You can go here to view the rest, they are all quite remarkable and creative in how they establish a link between cheese and customer service.

My answer, in case you don’t want to see my beautiful face and hear my sultry voice: there are many types of customer service you can provide and, just like cheese, not one will please everyone.  Some prefer a sharp Cheddar, some a blue Stilton, and some an American radioactive orange (trust me, that is not cheese — ask anyone outside of the US).

There is not a single way to do customer service.

And that is the key to this launch, as well as what few  other smart vendors are doing in customer service.  It is not about how many channels you have, how you create knowledge knowledge, do integration, or manage rules.  Nor is it  about being able to do Twitter, Facebook, or even communities — it is about leveraging all those resources and channels and doing it equally well for all segments.  It is about effectively delivering to customers the proper solution.

I talked about segmentation before and how it is the secret to doing cross-channel and multi-channel CRM.  But until recently, there was no technology platform that would allow an organization to do that.  Now Ciboodle joins the ranks of the handful of vendors that allows any organization to serve Camembert next to Ementhaler.

How cools is that?

The Roadmap to SCRM, Part 3 of 5

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2.1 – Pivot Point
Part 2.2 – Business Functions

It is important to recap a couple of things that we said before:

  • The SCRM Strategy is composed of multiple sub-strategies, some of which you may already have in existence
  • The roadmap to SCRM is an iterative process, where you will re-visit many times each strategy and sub-strategy

Why am I emphasizing this? Because we are now at the rules layer of the model. There is no physical or quantum method you can leverage that will get it right the first time.  It will take several passes at each, improving from the good (and bad) experiences.

First, let’s bring up the chart on how to create a SCRM strategy for reference:

Slide2The rules layer is simple to explain, but takes a lifetime to master.

I won’t be able to do it justice in one single post and I don’t think I could address all the issues and questions in one sub-post for each.  This is becoming part of my research agenda for next year.  This post is only going to briefly touch in the high-level issues that affect SCRM, but more details will come next year.

The following chart shows the six different sub-strategies for the rules layer – in the order you should tackle them (from the inside out):

Slide5Segment – The  different groups of customers affected by a business function.  The critical aspect for SCRM is to go beyond the traditional revenue- or profit-driven segmentation and begin to consider social function, social channels, even reputations and rankings in different communities when building different segments.
Business Rules – Rules that govern how each of the business functions and processes will execute.  Some business rules may be mandated by compliance, some are controlled by industry-wide practices you must support to remain competitive.  Business Rules are implemented in conjunction with the other layers in this model, they cannot be implemented separately.  Social considerations for rules are aligning them with the policies and stated positions to become a social business.
Service Level Agreements – Service Level Agreements are about managing customers’ expectations.  SLAs are set at different levels by channel and segment.  Social considerations for SLAs are to adapt the delivery of specific functions to the new social channels (promise what you can do, then over-deliver.  If you cannot do, don’t promise).
Measurement – A measurement strategy is about the internal tools and metrics used to measure efficiency of business functions.   This is  done by correlation of metrics from the front-office processes (effectiveness metrics usually) with back-office metrics (performance metrics traditionally).  Social Considerations for measurement strategies are to accommodate the new metrics and KPIs for the newly deployed channels.
Feedback – Feedback is the external tools and metrics to measure effectiveness of business functions.  Deciding at what part in the process to collect feedback, and how to use it to measure the effectiveness of the process from the customer’s perspective, is also closely related to the Analytical sub-strategy. Social aspects of the Feedback collection are related to the inordinate amount of data collected in the new social channels and how to use the social channels to collect feedback.
Analytical – This is where a large part of my research will be next year.  The idea is how to control the very incredibly large amount of data and feedback collected in unstructured form, and use that to further the business.  This sub-strategy is about figuring how to create actionable insights, and what to do with them in a social business.

How does it work all together?

Building sub-strategies independent of each other will not yield any advantage over today’s methods for collecting and using data.  The key to using these components to create actionable insights is to focus on the client-expected outcome and mesh that to an existing or created experience, then look how the six elements above describe that process.

An example, if you are going to implement technical support:

  1. are you going to do it for all segments? who is entitled to it?
  2. how are you going to deliver it for each? what is the result? what data will you need? what data will you produce? how will you manage it? what will the results be? what business rules will apply to this function? for each segment?
  3. what service levels are you aiming to achieve? how will you set expectations? how will you manage those expectations?
  4. how will you measure the success? what metrics will you use to measure success? how will you know that the process is working internally?
  5. will you collect feedback? how will you know you are doing a good job? how will customers be able to improve the process? how will you use the feedback you collect?
  6. what insights could you gather from the completed process? what will you do with them? where will you apply them? where will the feedback go within the organization to become useful? how will the customers know they were listened to?

This is the point where you go back to the beginning of this post, scan through it again and come back to this exact point a second time and say

What is the difference between doing this and doing a traditional CRM implementation?

Some time ago I wrote my first post in SCRM.  The title was “Don’t call it Social CRM – just add Social to your CRM“.

Building a SCRM strategy or deploying it is no different from building a CRM strategy and deploying it – except for two tiny, tiny details: the volume of feedback you collect has increased by magnitudes in excess of 100X the original feedback you used to collect via surveys (and it is unstructured), and the emergence of communities (try a different mental picture).

This picture will give a more clear detail of what matters in SCRM — and also show you the reasons those two items are my research agenda for next year.


So, what do you think?  Any questions so far? Are we moving closer to mastering SCRM? Are you more confident about success with it?

Updated: Link to next part for easy reading Part 4 – SCRM Channels Layer

Paul Greenberg at CRMe09: It's About The Social-Emotional Customer

I attended the opening Keynote this morning with Paul Greenberg at CRM Evolution 2009.  There were some very interesting things that Paul discussed that I want to share with you and elaborate on.

First the summary of what he covered.

Started by ensuring we all understood that the Social Revolution is not new (remember epinions.com? when yelp first emerged? early examples of customers becoming social), and that what we are dealing with is not a business revolution; it’s a societal revolution that business needs to adapt to.  He described Social Customer as not something new and different, rather we are them.

This is a key message that he remarked time and again: knowing the Social Customer is all about knowing how we act and how we interact with organizations.

He proceeded to talk about what he calls Generation C (I love the concept) for “connected”.  This generation is not about demographics, years of birth, or age ranges but is about becoming connected with organizations.  People in Generation C are the 74% (Pew Internet) of US Adults that are connected to the Internet, and the more than 66% (Nielsen) that belong to Member Community sites.  It is about the people who are vocal and are influencers by their active participation in the Social world.

These are the people that organizations must target to convert into advocates.

He spent some time talking about converting customers to advocates, and how to manage their influence and position within social networks to the advantage of the business.  He said that organizations must make it a plan to convert bad experiences into customer advocates (great point), and talked about how the economic value of a customer should not be as significant to the organization as the Referral Value of the customer (another great concept).

He then switched from Social Customers to Emotional Customers.  Talked about sentiments and emotions analysis and how it applies equally to communities and individuals, and to all conversations  (over 70% of transactions for Generation Y – the digital citizens – still happen via phone or in person according to Forrester).

He concluded by saying that idea of going social is to create valuable insights from what we learn about customers at the social and emotional level and applying them to the business.  The social and emotional label just denote new ways to do it.  His parting words were that organizations need to create strategies on how to become social, not just do it.

My Impressions

Paul got all his messages across well and I agree with the concepts. I think it is a great way to remove the existing fear to tell the companies why Social matters (because we are all social), and how it is going to continue to become more important.  I like the approach of saying that businesses did not change, what changed was society – it brings the problem to every company dealing with customers.

I admire that he aligned (finally) with my message that feedback management and insights is what drives the revolution for the companies (ok, he did not align – but I have to make myself feel better somehow — I have been saying that since 2005).

There are two things I would have emphasized more.

First, Paul rightly mentioned how each of us want to personalize the experiences, and expect the organization to deliver that. The solution is not to personalize on a one-by-one basis but rather to use segmentation wisely.  And that segmentation should not be done on financial value, but rather on the concept of Referral Value.  I would have spent more time talking about segmentation as critical to the success (which I think it is).

Second, I think that sentiment or emotional analysis is not quite ready for adoption,  most of the times the error rate is higher than the accuracy it yields. I agree that sentiments and emotions are the next frontier, but emphasizing too much how businesses can understand them when the technology is not quite there will backfire when the expected results are not reached.  Since the main source of nature is human nature, not technology, it may not be the best recommendation to make.  I saw some interesting demos at SpeechTek showcasing this – but we are not that close yet.  Think early days of NLP (Natural Language Process) for web self-service.

What do you think? Is sentiments analysis ready to take the mainstream? Is the social customer becoming the social-emotional customer?

How are organizations going to cope with this new customers?