This post was begotten by interesting comments I got to part 1. My assumption that everyone should already understand the functions that comprise CRM, and how they should be addressed in building a SCRM strategy is not correct.
Current CRM Functions. As everyone knows, CRM is comprised of three basic business functions: Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service; these are the areas of the enterprise that interact with the customer, and CRM being the system used to interact the most with customers, covers them. CRM systems cover all three functions with different levels of depth for each one (e.g. they may have more modules to cover sales than marketing, or customer service over sales). These modules work over different channels, usually supporting more than one (email and telephone can be used similarly to provide customer service) and leveraging common components used in each channel to make them work efficiently. There still single-function or single-channel solutions but are the large minority.
SCRM is firstly implemented as additional channels to support existing functions; early examples: Twitter is added to cover technical support, community support functions are added to extend marketing functions, integration with social network is provided to extend sales communications. The functions and modules provided don’t change much, they are just extended into the Social Channels. This is where most CRM vendors are today in offering solutions.
Wait, this is a strategy piece, why am I mentioning Technology?
Because you need to consider current technology for initial strategies of SCRM. No, I did not say to only implement that which is supported by technology – you are still going to build your strategy according to your needs and If you need something beyond what can be supported today you need to be prepared to customize or build-your-own just as we did in the early stages of CRM deployments.
When planning your SCRM strategies you should not be limited by current offerings as to what you can do, but you must consider what’s available to use today to deploy pilots and proof-of-concept projects. Customized and custom-developed solutions are not the best method to show your organization the value of SCRM – choose something that has been already implemented and show results to help you build support. In other words, understand the existing offers and re-prioritize your list — using proper priorities to get early wins in smaller projects will give you more clout and power to release more ambitious projects in the near future.
Future Use of Social CRM Functions. I am going to have to borrow a chart from the future discussions on communities to explain a little bit about the functions you should be planning to implement in your SCRM strategy. The relationship between the customer and the organization, which dates back to the beginning of commerce essentially, is changing. Relationships were (well, still are for the most part) 1:1 (one-to-one) and business functions are traditionally aligned to this: marketing targets a single individual, sales focuses on selling to customers one-by-one, and support is only provided from the organization directly to the customer via different methods.
Social businesses begin to incorporate different types of communities. The most effective way to manage communities is to recognize that all customers are part of communities – usually more than one – and that those communities are heavy influences in your customers. Contrary to what many are saying, the community will not replace the single customer in the CRM or SCRM interactions. However, the communities change this old-established model from a 1:1 to a 1:1:M or one-to-one-to-many. And here is where SCRM begins to show benefits. Look at the following picture.
A One-to-One-to-Many relationship means that although organizations still cater to individuals on a direct relationship, now they have to spend some cycles thinking how to provide the right information, access, and how to exert influence in the M (the community members supporting the customer). This chart only shows the process of one specific customer (let’s call him Mr. Orange), a member of at least three communities. However, and to make it more interesting, it is likely that at least some of the other members of the communities he belongs to are also customers of the same organization. That is when it gets interesting, because you have to tap into those customers both as individual customers and as community members exerting influence within them.
Why am I bringing this up?
SCRM is a strategy and it is an iterative process. You have to continue to think of more than one way to do things, and how to evolve them. We will cover this in more details when we talk about communities – but the idea is that if you start thinking in terms of communities instead of users when you plan for Social CRM Business Functions you can put your organization ahead of the curve. Which, yes, does give your organization a competitive advantage, but even beyond that you can see how learning and understanding how to market, sell, and service communities early on can also position you better in planning future experiences.
Should you plan and deploy your business functions around these today? No, but you should most certainly plan and pilot them — to begin to get comfortable with the idea.
Support for End-to-End Processes. Two critical issues to assure as you move into Social CRM are that you can effectively make the necessary changes to your existing processes to support the changes you need, and make sure that the data flows you select to support SCRM can actually be implemented in your organization.
In other words, if you can collect customer feedback via Twitter, but have no way to bring those insights into your analytics infrastructure to derive actionable insights, the original intent for getting that data does not matter as there is no value to collecting it. Yes, even if you are only “listening” (which is not a real strategy or objective – but I digress). The data flows from the social channels must be able to make it automatically into the analytics infrastructure or else is a waste of time.
That’s it for the first sub-strategy of a SCRM strategy: Functional Strategy — What do you think? Going in the right direction? Missing something? Drop me a note below, let me know – happy to make changes and talk about it…Updated: Link to next part for easy reading Part 3 – SCRM Rules Layer