No, I won’t claim Social CRM is dead, to the contrary. It just isn’t growing up fast enough to really have a business impact. This is more likely due to the slow pace at which companies are responding to changing market environments than it is due to the advancement of technology…
There are a few observations I would like to share with you. Observations I see as hindering us in the advancement of service being practiced as the dominant logic, Social CRM as the supporting strategy and Customer engagement as it’s underlying tactic.
It’s company centric
Companies continue to think mainly how social technology in general and on-line social networks can help them, not their Customers. All talk on Google+ (and any other on-line social network for that matter) seems to be focused on how companies can use it to engage Customers, mine their conversations and to become part of their circles (to sell them stuff). Companies continue to ignore that CRM should shift it’s focus from the Company – Customer relationship to the Customer – Customer relationship..
Influence, not value
Social Network analysis is targeted to understand how influence flows through them. But it’s not influence that creates value for Customers. We would make a lot more progress if we would direct all these resources to understand how Customer’s value is created in, and flows through, social networks. Because this will help us design and align touch-points that facilitate value co-creation with Customers, not just supportive of transactions.
The current logic of many companies is that investments should flow to mobile and social channels, because this is where, and how, the Customer “hangs out”.. They seem to be forgetting that way too many Customers continue to fail doing what they need to do at the “traditional“ touch-points like the Call Center or the company’s web-site.
Adopting a Social CRM strategy is NOT about trying to get a spot inside the Customer’s circles and at the same time letting them wait in the cold after knocking on your touch-points door!
Lack of accountability
Social CRM or engagement initiatives are currently supported by good-will mostly. All energy is directed to getting social working, without a clear view on what types of value it should generate for companies. Most are on the train, or almost ready to jump on it, few know where it’s heading. If we are not tying Customer engagement tactics to Customer engagement value, your social initiatives will not outlive the next crisis.
On top of all of the above, analyst firms, like Gartner, continue to publish quadrants and posts that make no sense and by doing so confusing companies even more. (You should read Paul Greenberg’s post on this topic! He’s spot on.)
Catching the wave
The root cause, if you ask me, is that many just consider this to be a wave that they need to catch long enough to jump the next one.. To me it looks like this wave is heading towards the doldrums, if it hasn’t arrived there already. And if you do not have a strategy to navigate those, you should not expect to get out of there anytime soon!
Please let me know what you think of this post in the comments and/or consider sharing it!
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My own ‘drains up’ on the state of play is that the Social CRM aka whatever you want to call it, lacks a sense of history. And that makes it vulnerable to foolishness.
Just as you insist that the orientation ought to be customer not brand, so too Social, as expounded through the mouths of its cheer leaders, appears surprised that Troy has not fallen and the ‘obvious’ remains ‘obscure’ to most of the hard nuts that ring up the register and count the money.
Social has not invented the customer centric market. Yet by the increasing volume of the ‘instant experts’ commentary you might think so. Its apparent virtues are moving into snake oil territory. And no-one is calling the emporors clothes yet. Reminds me of dotcom all over again!
My sense of history says Social has joined the band. Its part of an overall play and needs contextualising. Its needs to be allowed to be what it is and does offer some very useful ‘moves’ in particular transparency. But what most social commentators seem oblivious too is that the mission to convert the unbeliever is probably as old as commerce itself. Some get it. Some wake up. Some fall off the cliff. Evolution takes care of that.
Will the overall percentage of genuinely social businesses grow as a proportion of the whole? Articulating the theology is the easy part. Realpolitick is another phase.
Thx Martin, for reading and the comment.. although I’m not sure I completely get what you are trying to say. Can you elaborate please?
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