(Simple) Social CRM

Social Customer Relationship Management (#SocialCRM or #SCRM in short) is usually assumed to be a very complex thing, requiring new tools and techniques. But in reality, what you need is just a different way of looking at your customer relationships. Of course, tools help you get there and with quality, but they are secondary, really.

For example, when I am writing this blog article, I use the simplest (and the best-est if you would excuse the cliche) software called “Notepad”, I could have used Microsoft Word, or any other sophisticated word processing programs available out there, but that doesn’t matter, as long as I know what I am writing about, and have the interest to sit down and write it, the tool becomes secondary, I may write my next blog article in my phone’s text editor, or in a piece of paper, till I am ready to present it to others, I need not worry about the format, beautification etc.,

Same logic applies for Social CRM too, if you wait till you have the best tool that fits your expectations, probably you will end-up waiting forever. Instead, focus on understanding these basic things:

  • Who is your customer?
  • How “Social” they are?
  • Where they hang out in Social media?
  • What they typically talk about?
  • What we want to listen to?
  • How we want to respond?
  • Why we want to respond?
  • How do we balance between genuine social conversation Vs intrusion on their privacy?
  • What we want to achieve by all these?
There may be more such questions, but the point is, answering these is more important than buying the right Social CRM tool. You may use the simplest tools and create a great impact as long as the vision is clear and the execution is honest.
One small (live) example. Today I posted this in Twitter:

OnlineStoreX and OnlineStoreY increased the minimum purchase limit to Rs 200/- if you want free shipping. Hmm, Expected, But still…..

As a consumer, I am upset that Online Stores X and Y decided to increase their minimum purchase limit, for free shipping, as I don’t really want to pay for shipping of books. Now I am forced to buy for Rs 200/- (instead of the usual Rs 100/-) to save shipping cost. Not a serious problem for me, but still I don’t like it and I tweeted about it.

After couple of hours, I got a reply from OnlineStoreZ (A competitor to OnlineStores X and Y):

Hello, OnlineStoreZ offers free shipping, without any minimum purchase limit. Try http://www.onlinestorez.com

Very simple, I was motivated to click the given link, because it really addressed my issue. Great!

Now, when we try to guess what could have happened behind the screens, we understand how simple and brilliant this idea is:

  • Listen to what people are talking about us and our competitors in Social Media
  • Wherever we make a difference, respond with our offerings
  • No need to talk bad about our competitors, just say why you are different, and how you solve their problem
You don’t need a sophisticated Social CRM tool for this, All you need is a Twitter search, a Google blog / news search and an RSS reader. It can be a great start and you can start listening / responding.
Of course, this is not scalable, soon you will have tons of messages to respond to, at that time you can think of a sophisticated tool, no need to wait for that to get started.
#SCRM may also mean, Simple CRM!
Naga Chokkanathan

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