The “S” in SCRM is not about Social Media

Today I read a tweet by Ray Wang where he states that he “doubts Social CRM (SCRM) will replace CRM. They augment each other. S is just a new but powerful channel. What do you think?”

I fully agree that Social CRM will not replace CRM. I have a different view though on the meaning of the S. Here’s what I think the S in SCRM is about, and why:

1. From 1-to-1 company-Customer communications to Many-to-Many conversations

I wrote a post almost two months ago on what relationships you should care for in Social CRM. In this post I argue that I believe we need to completely let go of this company centered relationship logic and put Customers’ relationships at the center of our thinking [..] Hence, in the era of the Social Customer, after understanding your Customers’ needs, you may want to better understand how your Customers leverage ALL their relationships (strong and weak ties) to obtain the information they need to increase the value they get from the products and services they use.

This does not mean that 1-to-1 conversations between Customer and company are no longer relevant. Nothing is less true, yet we need to think of Customers as part of networks, of which we the company may be a part. And the company is not at the center of it: the Customer is.

2. Segmentation the Customer’s way

In traditional CRM companies segment Customers along the lines of socio- and demographics and/or lines of profitability, lifetime value and share of wallet. Just two weeks ago I wrote my post on Social CRM and Customer segmentation. If there is one thing we (should) learn from emergent on-line communities it is that people join these communities to perform a certain job. This can be a social job, functional job or emotional jobs, mostly formed around a shared interest. It is these jobs & interest that bond the people in a community. On-line (and off-line) communities are in fact the Customer’s natural way of segmenting. I believe it is not difficult to understand that capturing the understanding of the jobs your Customers are trying to do and the way they are trying to do it, is the Social CRM way of Customer segmentation.

Again, this doesn’t mean that traditional ways of segmenting have become obsolete. For me it comes second though. Social CRM is not replacing CRM, it is extending, or improving, it.

3. A new entry in the front-office

The third reason why the S in SCRM is more than adding a channel is the new entry to the front-office. CRM has a clear focus on the traditional front-office: Sales, Marketing and Services. With the S added to CRM innovation made it into the front-office, in my humble opinion. More and more we see companies co-develop new products and services together with Customers (and partners) in close collaboration. This can vary from inviting Customers to present new ideas to a full process of co-development. It is clear to me though that product development and innovation departments are having meaningful dialog with Customers, which, to me, allows them for a seat in the front-office row of a Company.

4.Breaking down silo’s

Breaking down silo’s has been on the agenda for quite some time. Unfortunately, as a consequence of the high focus on transactions and transaction efficiency (by example: much of SFA is basically nothing more than monitoring transactions, from lead-generation numbers, to appointment numbers, to RFI’s answered numbers etc etc..), this has not happened. Specialization and task-oriented jobs have become the norm in business (no need to explain I think.. we can all relate, not?), whilst sharing knowledge and collaboration are becoming increasingly important in the rapidly changing and complex systems that we are all part of these days. If we are ever going to turn CRM from the inside out to the outside in, we need to break down the silo’s. Before the S was added to CRM, companies could still get away with it. Increasing Customer empowerment is turning this ship around, through Customers complaining about the Customer experience in open innovation communities, by marketing talking to Customer service if they can help them turn service into sales (as a consequence of the lack of outbound sales) etc etc..

Much more water will flow through the Rhein, before the Silo’s will be broken down. For me, it is a “sine-qua-non” if you want to add the S to CRM.

5. Answering to the Social Customer

Last, but not least: According to Paul Greenberg this is the essence of Social CRM, and I agree. The Social Customer is not (only) a person that engages through Social Media. The Social Customer is any Customer these days. A Customer that is not becoming more vocal and knowledgeable, but already is. A Customer who knows how to leverage his voice and knowledge to his (and his peers’) advantage. Also a Customer that does not want to be treated as an opportunity for exchange at any convenient moment, from a Company’s point of view. But a Customer who wants to be treated with respect and wants to have options to choose from. Moreover the Social Customer wants to have influence on how he creates value from the products and services you provide.

The S in SCRM is about catering for these needs and adopting approaches that show respect for the way the Customer wants to be treated (this last point in it’s essence: no more unsolicited direct mail, e-mail and outbound-campaigns, in which unsolicited is very different from not opting out!).

To conclude: to me adding the S to CRM is much more than just adding Social Media to the other channels available for communications with Customers. Which is also why I disagree with any definition of Social CRM that puts the channel at the center of it.

This is my interpretation of the S in SCRM. I’m interested in learning yours. Please share them, and your comments to mine, below.

57 thoughts on “The “S” in SCRM is not about Social Media

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  3. Social media is a great tool, if harnessed properly for branding and communication purposes, but I agree, it’s not something that can replace or be a focal point for any CRM goals. It’s quite an effective way to connect and forge relationships with customers, but traditional CRM is still very much essential in a lot of ways.


  4. Perhaps a late reply but I am reading all I can lay my hands on about Social CRM and try to understand it from customer centric perspective. I am glad that I am not the only one having trouble with the term Social CRM for reasons you expressed. CRM is about Sales Marketing and Marketing Services. Social Media strategy effects the company as a whole. Front end is nice way of putting it, but still I feel the impact is deeper and I am afraid the focus of CRM could frustrate the involvement of a company as a whole. I would like to share this article from Steve Denning- he talks about the reason companies are not performing. Steve talks about 7 principles of radical management. One I particularly like is: The goal of work is to delight clients. If you really want the customer be the central point, companies (not just CRM silos) should totally focus on delighting (plezieren) the customer. I just thought it could help diving a little deeper.


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  7. I think once people separate Social Media from Social CRM I think it will make a lot of sense. I think at the end of the day CRM will still be CRM, it’s just that there will be new tools and concepts. We saw this with email in the last decade and now more so other tools such as IM. It’s just another piece of the puzzle.


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  12. Hi Wim,

    Solid post, wish I would have seen this earlier, Prem actually just sent me a link to it right now. Funny, I just left a comment on the post you mentioned about stating that I disagree with the SCRM definition as it has nothing to do with “social media.” Bob Thompson from customer think had an interesting post on whether or not we need social media/networks for SCRM to begin with which also started some interesting discussions. Another value of SCRM is not only answering to the social customer but showing the world that you did so. Sometimes companies respond to or implement something a customer has to say or suggest, yet the customer is unaware that this change has happened.

    This is not longer the case where companies not only listen and act but they have a clear way of showing the customer that some sort of action was taken.

    As far as the rest of my thoughts go, everyone already responded :)

    Great post!


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  14. Wim – Great post. as always – defending/supporting the customer is always a good thing – short-term aand long-term.

    We seemt to keep forgetting, in this race to be included (and doesn’t that smell a bit like control), is that socializing is just natural human behavior, and the medium (channels) we are desiring to enter (in some way) is just/was a medium for socializing.

    I totaly agree with your defintion that customers do not desire a “relationship” with a company, and value (to the customer) is derived from the value they want/need/get (and it’s their definition/perception of value that is the ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS) from the products/services you offer.

    I would like to add that, I think, that there does exist a difference in perceptions amongst customers who might mention your brand, as to whether their conversations are PUBLIC or not. I do believe (and maybe this is a personal bias of mine from reading, literally, tens of thousands of posts, tweets, etc) that there are people who think they are just conversing with their BFF’s who are scattered globally, without having any conscious idea that their conversations are public – hey it’s just anoher medium/channel to connect with (back to Prem_K’s Content, Context and Intent post).

    This awareness or lack of awareness should have a critical impact on our behavior (and which of the 18 Use Cases to utilize) – listening to understand is one thing, but engagement should be tempered by the perception (on the part of the customer) of how intrusive is the engagement.

    Love to equate this (used this argument with our CEO) to overhearing a conversation on a busy street between a group of people and they mentioned your brand. (And I equate the ear you overheard this with as the social tool you used to listen in with). Now, the decision is, do I join in this conversation or not? Simple Complexity Theory problem here – series of )’s or 1’s – I win if I join in and (all of) the group thought it was a good idea – I was helpful, etc and I win if I do not join in because all or just one of the group thought it was creepy, invasive – I should mind my own business (or even more simply, I used company speak, rather than regular/human speak). Conversely, I lose, if I join in and someone thought it was invasive and I also lose if I did not join in and, by joining in, I could have been helpful and they (all) would not have thought it creepy.

    Sorry, long-winded way of saying, Social CRM/Social Business (as the majority of us perceive it) can be a subset of all the Social Conversations about my brand. Understanding customers is crtical – Social CRM requires tact and social graces too (which is anyway of expressing the relinguishment of control behaviors).


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  18. Wim, this is a superb post.

    To echo what others have been saying, the reason what Wim says is important is that if we think of the Social part as merely a channel, that opens the way for all kinds of bad outcomes.

    For example, I was talking to a knowledgeable analyst in the space yesterday who told me that all of the campaign management vendors are rushing into the Social CRM space. He asked whether we thought Social CRM Nirvana included a place for campaign management.

    Our answer was both, “NOOOOOOO” and a qualified yes.

    To take nothing away from campaign management, which is an important function, the “NOOOOOO” response was predicated on the assumption that you would treat social channels exactly as you do 1:1 channels in campaign management. That would be tragic!

    The yes part is that of course there is going to be socially oriented marketing, and of course you’ll want to track it and measure it as a campaign. It just has to be a different kind of campaign than we’ve seen before.

    I’m going to say something completely self-serving here, and you can strike me down for saying it, but that’s why I think Social CRM technologies that start with the Social part are more interesting than those that start with the database/workflow part that is traditionally associated (unfortunately) with the term CRM. When you really think socially, you need to start with a new set of concepts rather than grafting the old ones into the new world.

    So yeah, Social CRM is really just what CRM should have been, but once you add the social part, you need to rethink things.

    Thanks again, Wim, for this and for the opportunity to post in this space. It’s a privilege.


  19. Nailed it, Wim. This might be the first time I’ve agreed with somebody else over Ray. :-)

    It’s hard for businesses to accept their new position—responding to the social interactions their customers are having that relate to them—so it’s expected that they will try to remain at the center of the action, the source of the social S. Besides, they’re trying to make money off the development of social CRM.

    As long as the media and analyst community stays on message, that SCRM is how businesses cope with their customers’ use of social media, we’ll be able to prevent confusion and keep forward momentum.


    • Hi Marshall,

      Thx for stopping by & taking time to leave a comment..

      I’s like to add one element to your comment: I actually think Social CRM is not only about how business copes with their Customers’ use of Social Media.. it is wider than that: it is how business copes with their Social Customers.. and yes, they are very active on Social Media, and know how to leverage the channel very well.. The behavior is not unique to the Social Media channel though.. It’s just that we don’t see it that well if it’s happening in off-line Social Networks.. but it’s there for sure..

      Thx again. Hope to see you here again.


  20. I’m sure glad i keep a copy of Paul Greenberg’s blog post, Time to put a stake in the ground on SCRM.

    If you’ll notice he used the word philosophy, and then business strategy.

    SCRM from my perspective and how i try to make it work for me is seeing it as befriending consumers,

    the relation between consumers and companies is living in a parallel universes and all social has done is give us more point of contacts,

    but what is happening is your trying to put the “s” through the same rigourous process that CRM has done for so long.


    • Hi Spiro,

      Sorry for late response.. Indeed the philosophy and mindset are the first elements you need to get if you want scrm to be successful.. those that don’t will fall horribly behind for sure..

      Thx for reading & commenting :) Highly appreciated.


  21. Wim –

    Excellent article!

    The “S” is a reminder that companies are important participants in the ecosystem but not the center of the solar system. Customers are.

    The CRM part is important because companies still need to have scalable processes that allow them to be efficient.

    Companies have become masters of the transaction but somewhere along the way, people have been forgotten. For a reminder of this, just consider the average interaction with a company’s contact center. The typical service rep is so bogged down with scripted processes they’re hog-tied from actually listening and being responsive to the person on the other end of the email or phone line.

    With the extent of electronic and mobile connectivity, the S is a needed and important reminder that the interactions between customers and company can’t center solely on the company.

    Companies need to understand the social business model doesn’t require them to forego efficient processes. What social *does* require though, is for companies to overlay a high level of customer-centricity. This means including customer expectations for engagement and co-creation into the mix and finding the balance to create value for company and customer.


  22. Social Business is as old as time. People buy from people they like and they like people that listen to them and address their concerns.

    sCRM (Social CRM) is just a new way to leverage technology to make it easier to listen and engage which drives deeper relations and ultimately more customers.


    • Hi Jon,

      I should come not as a surprise that I do not agree with you.. the arguments for that are in the post above ;)

      Thx for providing an alternative opinion here.. I hope you elaborate a little more why technology will make the difference.. Or do you believe change is obsolete?

      Thx again.


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  24. I think that CRM is a perfect description and that it should be left alone. Why do we always feel the need to create something new, or change something that already has a good definition.

    I think that we should really focus on the “R” – relationships. You can not build up a relationship without being Social. Just because we are using blogs, forums…..and external Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter to build the relationship with our customers, does not mean that we need to add an “S” in front.

    Maybe it is just me.

    Mike P| @mikepascucci


    • Maybe you’re right Mike, what you’re talking about ties in with what @mikeboysen is always saying — true customer centricity is not about software and it’s not about technology. Maybe the problem is that companies have spent a long time taking the “R” out of CRM so that the reality is that they’re talking about customer management.


      • Hi Joe,

        Indeed.. you’re right.. Please also see me reply to Mike P.. I think we should not overestimate the importance of the Customer – Company relationship..

        Thx for stopping by and leaving a comment.. :)


    • Hi Mike,

      I’m not convinced that we should focus on the R.. just because I think the R is not what is of value to Customers (mostly). The R is a means to value, whilst Value is what Customers are after.. This in essence is what I wrote in my #1 above. Check out the link to my previous post in there..

      Secondly: The entire “point” to this post is that I’m arguing that we are not putting the S in front of CRM because of things like Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc.. We are putting the S in front because of the 5 “shifts” in thinking and understanding compared to CRM I outlined in this post..

      Thx for visiting & taking time to comment.. Let me know what you think of my reply too?


  25. Great post Wim. The only thing I would point out, as I repeatedly do :), is that too often “CRM” is put in the context of tools and operational efficiency. There has also been an element of customer – centricity from a strategic point of view. Unfortunately, it has gotten lost in all of the technical gibberish.

    So, to me CRM is about all the things you mentioned right up until you got to the social customer. That’s where the S comes into play, and any customer centered business probably figured this out well before the term SCRM surfaced.

    No big deal. If it takes the word social to get the convo going on strategic business issues great. Hopefully, not too many poor saps will be sucked into the social media hype because all that will translate into is spam and the like.


    • Hi Mike,

      For number 2 and 4 I would agree with you. Could (and should) have been part of CRM long before.. As you rightfully say, it hasn’t been because CRM has been mistaken for technology.. The exact same reason why I put it up here too..

      #1 was not on the CRM radar, since CRM focused fully on the 1-to-1 relationship, fostered by analytics.. #3 was there before too, yet I have not seen it brought up before in relation to CRM.. But I could have easily missed it. I was stuck in the Customer Services silo, and although I frequently made a case of closely working together with business/product development, this was not happening/appreciated.. Making the case for number 4 ;)

      Thx for stopping by and commenting!


  26. Wim –

    Fabulous post (as always). You always seem to get those juices in my brain flowing.

    Whether or not one accepts Andrew McAfee’s Chicken Little Syndrome (Memes to Watch Out For) – and I do love the word of caution he provided, I think you summed up SCRM very well by building the case that the “S” is not about the channel/another channel, but more about the customer.

    Social media (as a channel/platform) has both enpowered customers (with the ability to find and share information/opinions/etc) and flooded their lives with more stuff than there are hours in a day to digest. Whether one accepts the premise that the sky is falling or not, the explosion of social media has had an impact on a company-centric culture.

    Certainly, I, as a company, could continue with CRM activities in a very company-centric manner. (For example, we are going through a debate right now about what value can we provide to the customer in exchange for giving us information that we desparately want – the info we want is about being blatantly company-centric – the hard part is thinking through the customers lense about what would they value in exchange). The value that Social Media created is the exemplified by the fact that we are even considering what we need to provide in value to the customer in exchange for what we want. – to that extent, the sky is falling (or, can we relate this to the debate over global warming, with customer-centricity on one side and company-centricity on the other. The debate still goes on, and so does the world, and the future is still questionable).

    By making the case to divorce the “S” from the channel/technology and make the case for “respect” (a universal desire of all human beings), is a wonderful and welcome approach. If we can make the case that SCRM is the bridge between “future/cool” and a return to “old-fashioned, traditional values”, can we get universal alignment?

    Great post


    • Hi Scott,

      Gr8 to see that you’re always “listening” :) I very much like how you frame my post as “divorcing the S from the channel/technology”.. I was actually hoping to prevent them from marrying in the first place.. I guess the fact that I wrote this makes your point very valid..

      I also agree that Social Media has empowered Customers more rapidly than before. I also believe that the Customer has become Social long before Social Media were around. I even think “we” have to thank ourselves for it, by abusing Customers’ trust through consistent and multi-media (gets a different “ring” in this context.. doesn’t it) pushing of things “we” wanted.

      Good to see that you and your company are really trying to apply the new logic in a very practical way.. Would really like to understand if it worked out for you and your Customers..

      Thx again for the kudos & stopping by.


  27. Some really interesting stuff here. Firstly I should say that I am beginning to really dislike the term Social CRM; it is quite woolly as a description but it is what we have and it will suffice, we may as well call it ‘Albert’ because essentially it doesn’t matter. The important people, the customers, don’t care what we call how they interface with us so long as they get heard (and as Paul says, they ain’t necessarily going to tell us they’ve done it). However, for me Social CRM is not just about listening and reacting it is also about using the tools (not just tech tools) there are to go find stuff. I do believe there is a distinction. One is essentially sitting there aggressively waiting for the (twitter) phone to ring whilst the other is going out and finding what people are asking for and doing something about it.

    We must be very careful about making assumptions with any kind of social interaction. It is incorrect to say that 1:1 communication is dying because it most certainly is not. What is happening is that Esteban’s 1:M is happening (but not everywhere). We can also not get too carried away with the view that everyone puts everything online. There are 4m SME/SMBs in the UK as an example. Most of those guys spend their time doing the job and not scouring the web for comments or leads or whatever…they simply either don’t have time, resources, don’t see it as important enough or simply don’t care.

    The same is true with consumers. Their first port of call is not necessarily to tweet a #fail…although those who do get swift responses in many cases from larger organisations. I know from personal experience that when I call a big company to complain, the moment I say, ‘not good enough…this is going on Twitter’ that I mysteriously get a lot further a lot quicker!

    I think we need to be REALLY careful about trying to bound what we are seeing happening with any kind of rules at all. I have suggested before that I am somewhat of a Social CRM anarchist but what we think and try to ‘enforce’ in whatever way is likely to be of absolutely no value if the people who really matter either don’t understand it, don’t see it and feel it or frankly don’t care.

    Chris Butler


    • Hi Chris,

      You make a very valid point. Before designing solutions it is important to understand what your Customers value.. or in other terms: what are the jobs they are trying to do, and how..

      I’m pretty sure that all companies will benefit from understanding, and practicing, the above outlined elements in any way kind of form or shape.. ;) Whether Social Media is part of that approach will depend on the specific situation. For some it may, for others it won’t..

      And: even for SME/SMB’s there may be no doubt: their Customers are as Social as anyone of us.. they just may not shout it out online.. (pretty sure they look for “proof” / “knowledge” / “best practices” and ” peer advice” on-line though ;)

      Thx for stopping by and taking time to comment.


  28. Wim,

    I hate it when Paul comments before me — means I have little left to say… but will try anyway.

    Of course, i think Paul said it best — this is not about the same business model and this is not about the same customer. Both have shifted or are shifting, depending on the organization and customer base.

    However, there is one thing that I’d like to explore further. Actually two.

    1) by replacing the customer in the center instead of the company in the center you are not changing the behavior or the conversation, you are simply shifting the flows. You go from inbound to outbound — which is good, but not necessarily where you want to go. I wrote about this many times before, but I believe that the ultimate goal of any social business is to span communities where they become one more equal member of the same. These communities a


    • so, let’s see if fat fingers can finish typing…

      these communities are the outbound marketing, outbound sales, and outbound service from the organizations perspective — in other words, they are shifting inside to outside (forget inside-out to outside-in, the conversations happen both ways, so there is no single direction anymore) and becoming a member of the communities in the process. which brings

      2) there is no more 1:1 conversations, i agree with you, but you are not describing m:m either. if you put the customer in the center, you are describing 1:m — customer to other participants. in the model you are describing, as i see it, there is still 1 (the customer) and many (the other members — including the organization). in a m:m relationship like you advocate, there is no center — there is equal members of a community working towards a common goal (I talked about this when i wrote my post on community, collective, and communes last year). which means that the whole focus on the customer is no longer an issue, since all members of the community receive the same focus from all the other members.

      now, in a social business (of which SCRM is a part of, the customer — employees and partners are the other two as Mike Fauscette so brilliantly puts it) the job is to have an ecosystem of communities, interacting with each other, all with different but overlapping focuses. but that is the subject of a further post.

      this is a fantastic post, just wanted to add my 2 (probably wrong) cents — there is no 1 in a community, just many.


      • Hi Esteban,

        Great comment.. that I needed to think of a bit longer than others to reply.. :)

        I agree to some extend, not to some too.. Step by step:

        Ad. 1) By putting the Customer at the center I think the nature, behavior and content of the conversation will change.. or should at least. Like Scott mentions in his comment they are no longer just asking the Customer but also offering value in return for what they ask.. Of course this is really just tit-4-tat, nevertheless it is a change of the nature of the conversation.. This is something they did not consider before they decided to put the Customer’s desires at the core of their thinking..

        Ad. 2) I actually stated that 1:1 conversations will continue to play a major role. Value propositions will be designed to be more personalized than ever, because of the co-creation logic. This may even be the ultimate 1:1 conversation possible.. I do agree though that there will be an ecosystem of communities interacting with each other… This is also a great way of “framing” a Social Business..

        What I’m not sure about is whether all members in the community (or ecosystem) will receive the same focus.. I really don’t see Customers have the same focus on employees and partners of the business that they are buying from.. as could be expected from employees and partners from a business towards Customers’ needs.. It may be the case for emergent Customers though, or highly engaged Customers, but I doubt it will be the case for all Customers.

        And this is not a problem to me… it even is a good thing: a Social business should focus all it efforts on meeting Customers’ needs. A Social business cannot afford to say: ” hey Customer, we deserve as much focus from you on us, as you deserve (or worse: get) from us”..

        Like Paul states: “they (companies) can provide the foundation for collaborating with the customer – meeting the company’s objectives on the one hand, but on the customer’s terms on the other ” ..

        which concludes my take.. what do you say?


  29. Excellent post to start the day, Wim. Thanks!

    I agree with Lauren that limiting the S to a channel in the strict sense of the word (a path of communication between companies and customers) does indeed miss out on the mind shift and the opportunities you outline above. But, as Paul Greenberg writes: “The customer is now able to communicate about the company without the company’s acquiescence or knowledge”. I think that the opportunities (1:M and M:M communication with and between customers, communities etc.) and popularity of ‘social media’ stimulates companies to speed up their efforts to become more customer-centric and collaborative.

    To me, social media is a catalyst stimulating a Shift in the way companies and customers ‘deal’ with each other (in the widest and most collaborative sense of the word).


    • Thx Christophe..

      and I do fully agree that Social Media is a catalyst and also an opportunity to get things done in better ways than we could have before.. Like Mark Tamis stated above: it is time we start understanding what the value of being able to do those things better actually is, to companies and Customers..


  30. Wim, my compliments, you are so right. The S does not stand for the channel social media, it stands for the conSumer it self. His relationships, his empowerment, his experiences of the value of the services of the company and the way he uses it and communicates about it. It is a little bit like our universe. There are stars, planets and meteors. If you look at them from the distance you think they operate on their own. Still that’s not true, their is gravity and a pulling and pushing power that binds together and creates het universe of today. Like our business today, it’s an evolving situation not a status quo. As a company if you want to survive, you must recognize the individual consumer, its networks, its mood and its need of this moment. How does he/she values you now?


  31. Wim, this is powerful stuff – I like to think of this when I’m at work as “the customer experience is the company.”

    Customers don’t care about your silos, or why your marketing team told them one thing and you’re telling them another. Nor do they care about who is responsible for what, instead it seems to me they want two things: some knowledge or an outcome that they need/desire (solid point, well stated in your Feb. post), and lacking that they want to be able to tell you how to get them what they need in the future.

    I’m not even sure I like the word “management” being part of CRM or sCRM if only because I think it implies in some cases that companies “put customers in their place.” [Maybe I’m dreaming here but management seems to imply someone’s being overseen, and in a 1 to 1 conversation that would usually be the customer] But I’m not a buzzword guy so I’ll leave that up to someone else to figure out.

    The other thing you brought up is bringing the customer into the creative and collaborative process. Letting customers tell you what matters to them and how means there’s an inherent value added to the relationship, as Paul mentioned. But no surprise it’s pretty scary for companies practicing big “M” customer management/interaction.


    • Thx Joe..,

      Letting go of control is probably the biggest challenge for people in general, let alone for business communities.. I experience that every day in my consulting practice, as I’m in fact also asking my Customers to hand-over some of the control to me, when I’m helping them to get their job done..

      I think it’s natural people behavior and requires great leadership skills to change. Another part I will not deal with in depth here, but that I’m interested to hear/read more about.. If you have any good suggestions, just let me know.


  32. Wim, I couldn’t agree more with you. Social CRM’s value is that it opens up communications between the company and the customer in a way that allows the customer to sculpt his own experience with the company – thus enhancing the value of the company’s relationship with him. It isn’t a matter of a “conversation” meaning some blab session between the company and the customer. The customer is now able to communicate about the company without the company’s acquiescence or knowledge. The company not only has to be aware of that but also has to understand there is NOTHING THAT THEY CAN DO TO STOP THE CUSTOMER FROM DOING THAT. Their option is to become a participant – understanding that their goals and the customer’s, while symbiotic, are not the same – and what they expect to get from the relationship between them is different too. By giving the customer not just the channel, but the products, services and tools also, they can provide the foundation for collaborating with the customer – meeting the company’s objectives on the one hand, but on the customer’s terms on the other.

    Good job, man.


    • Thx Paul. I highly appreciate the kudos and your valuable comment.. I specifically like: meeting the co’s objectives, on the Customer’s terms..

      If we would all spend just a little bit more time and thought on understanding our Customer’s “terms”, we’d all be better off, for sure.


  33. Those that limit the ‘s’ in sCRM will miss out on all the opportunities you outline in this post. Very well done. We should change our thought process to conversation centric no matter what channel. Now we need to hammer out how sCRM and CRM can mesh together and be able to map these conversations to the consumer and those people who may be influenced by the consumer’s actions.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6


    • Thx Lauren for taking the time to comment..

      You brought up a topic that I’m very interested in, but have not yet wrapped my head around completely: influencers.. I will not get into that here and hope you will stay tuned.. I likely will in the (near) future..


  34. I think you’re right. Too many people associate the ‘S’ in SCRM with a website, a platform or a fad that trendy companies are trying to milk for everything it’s worth while it’s still around.

    The real value in Social is that it’s a new way to put the customer first. A new form of potentially valuable communication.

    The S is here to stay. The technology surrounding it will change.


  35. Agreed Wim,

    When I try to explain the S, i say that it is about CRM focused on customer interaction, exchange.

    We’re getting their, the next link is to show the value proposition to businesses to engage – not just do so because it it the New Black, but more so that taking a customer-centric approach to business will give them competitive advantage and helps achieve long-term sustainability of through a deeper understanding of the customer-job-to-be-done and how to meet the desired outcome



    • Well said Mark! & thx for the comment.

      On top of that: it is about doing with a clear understanding what you are doing it for.. you can’t know what you’re doing it for if you do not understand the underlying mechanisms.. or logic. My fear is that many will “do Social Media” in the same way they “do” CRM.. & then are surprised there is no value, not for the Customer and not for the company..


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