Chris J Powell

Social CRM…how do you Use what you collect

We have all heard gobs of information about the onslaught of Data and the power of Social Media to impact, change and improve our lives and the connections we have with Customers and Vendors alike.  I went on a bit of a reading frenzy this morning to better wrap my head around the concept of Social CRM.

Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation. – Paul Greenberg

For myself, my life has become a Social CRM experiment as I continue to connect and expand the connections that I have with current, future and former customers but on the other side of the equation…I know that for many of those people that I am looking for a “better way” of connecting with are looking for a better way to “get to know me” than listening to a 30 minute telephone presentation, meet me for coffee or have me jump on a plane and kick back in their office.  I get that the world is changing and to not change with it is inherently dangerous and near sited so how do we jump on the “Gravy Train” and at the same time invite our customers to join us?

I am still in the minority when it comes to Sales Professionals willing to make the serious individual time investment in building out, supporting and continuing with what was at first a Social Media Experiment but has very become an integral part of my Sales Process.  I have always focused on the Relationship and Social Media lets me extend that beyond email and telephone engagement.

In my efforts to better understand how to incorporate Social CRM into my day and leverage the existing tools that I have I found to be a great resource:

The Traditional CRM is very one dimensional, it is about getting information to the customer to make the sale.  If used correctly and the information input into the CRM is accurate…then great things can happen…sales go up, the company profits and everyone is happy.  This is a good thing.  But the challenge is, garbage in, garbage out truly does apply as the CRM is only as good as the Data input and whether it is bad data from the sales person, from the customer or from any other source…well you can see that this can be a bit of a challenge

I like that within the Social CRM model outlined above…everything is connected and flowing.  The sense of community starts to appear.  Focus on interaction is at the heart of the equation and the ability for both parties to interact and sustain the relationship is mutually beneficial. 

There has been an evolution brewing for some time and the problem is that the tools have not always lived up to the ability of the individual to connect and build.  The Evolution of SCRM is not complete, it has taken on a life of its own and to confine it within the walled garden environment that is all to often the case with a traditional CRM…well the face of the customer is changing fast.  They are willing to share more information with you than ever before…they do this so that you don’t waste their time.  They consume what you have to offer and determine before your first meeting, conversation or interaction if you are worth the investment of time and effort to explore a deeper relationship.

I will continue to expand how I interact.  I now experiment with how other companies are leveraging Social Media to connect with me as a consumer of their products.  Some pass with flying colours…other…well lets just say epic fail.

The three most recent examples I have about leveraging Social Media to engage a “Brand” come from three completely different sources. 

  1. A few weeks ago we took a family weekend trip to Frankenmuth, MI.  The trip was FANTASTIC.  As soon as I returned I Tweeted a #Frankenmuth message, left a message on the town’s Facebook wall and waited.  Well this was a Sunday so my expectations were not set too high but boy…within 1 hour I had thank you messages from residents, shop owners and further reinforced that this little town in Michigan is my preferred weekend getaway spot.
  2. Last weekend while out shopping we stumbled across a new Candy from the creators of Clodhoppers.  OMGs are absolutely fantastic and well so good in fact that I had to tell people about them and thank the creators, again on their Facebook Page.  No word of a lie…8 minutes after the post I had a response!
  3. This weekend…we had a very negative experience at a local fast food restaurant.  Yeah yeah I know why fast food, right…well to make a long story short, my wife found a piece of a BandAid in her Whopper and when the manager tried to explain the piece of plastic away as a dark piece of Onion Skin…we quickly got up and left…not after making a post on Burger King’s Facebook Wall…amazingly it has been 3 days now and not a peep from Burger King!

The moral of the story…small will always be better at making a real connection.  While you may be able to save a buck or two by going big…is it really worth it?  For me…no more.  If I want a Burger…I will head of to one of the many independent Burger Joints in town and get what I want…great service!


Chris J Powell

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