Social CRM: Thinking Outside the “Call Center” Box

If one studies history of automobiles, the first cars powered by internal combustion engines running on fuel gas appeared as early as 1806. But early autos were little more than horse drawn carraige fitted with an engine. It was not until 1889 that Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with an engine (for more on history of the automobile, see this link).

Instead of modifying and re-engineering their CRM business processes to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Networks, companies are fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage and are expecting great results from it. 

Something similar is happening with respect to Social Networking technology today when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Instead of modifying and re-engineering their CRM business processes to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Networks, companies are fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage and are expecting great results from it.

Just ask any executive or consultant who is involved in implementing a Social Media marketing or Social CRM solution about how to engage thousands of customers (Scale) on Social Media channels and their Call Center “in the box” thinking becomes evident, what I call fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM processes (Carriage).

Instead, we need fresh outside the box thinking to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Media and Social Networks. For example, instead of trying to respond to each and every tweet or Facebook posting by customers, something not practical for a medium or large business, the emphasis should be on creating advocacy and building trust among customers, keeping in mind the “Social Context” of the medium. No where this is more evident than in support communities, where brand advocates/loyal customers help other customers out by answering their questions or suggesting solution, rather than company Reps trying to answer all the question.

Companies must leverage unique characteristics of Social Networks and re-engineer their CRM business processes to derive full benefits from it, rather than trying to fit “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage. 

Similarly, companies must leverage unique characteristics of Social Networks and re-engineer their CRM business processes to derive full benefits from it, rather than trying to fit “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage, calling it “Social CRM” and  expecting great results from it.

What do you think? Look forward to your comments:

  • http://twitter.com/nishith_gupta Nishith Gupta

    Hi Harish,

    You have certainly raised a very valid point. I think it boils down to how best you can leverage the social media channel for enhancing the organization's CRM capabilities. The scope of how one would like to integrate social media with CRM is immense, it is only that because of competition all around, one is just trying to make hay since even the end users are not very much sure of the complete gamut of value adds that Social CRM can provide.
    And hence one of the easier of the lot is to just use social media as a channel to monitor various queries and also to launch campaigns. I believe, the social CRM is still at a very nascent stage and thus everyone looks at it from different perspective. So I will say no one is wrong here but no one even gives the complete picture. The point you have referred here is very valid but this will definitely be out in open once we are little bit ahead in the learning curve.

  • Mark A Carbone

    Great comparison!! It's so true. I see it all the time. We are in the infancy of this new way of “Stakeholder” Service and the tools are very difficult to use efficiently.

    I'm working so hard to give customer advocates a “toolkit” of how-to's and media assets to share and training so they become the clients extended sales and customer service arms.

    Running into a new problem – creating a system to manage the system that manages the employees who manage the customer advocates/raving fans.

    So much opportunity is being left on the table – so many opportunities to serve the customers, vendors, employees, partners but at least we're seeing it and starting to improve. No silver bullet yet :)

    Mark Carbone – http://www.twitter.com/markacarbone

  • Tewksbum

    Harish,

    To be honest, don't you think social CRM boils down to adding another app to the CSR desk? Sure it would be great is this was integrated to a broader customer profile, but as a starting point it's no different fielding a “call” via a social channel than it is via the phone.

    - Tewks
    http://www.themarketingmojo.com

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @nishith_gupta

    Thanks for your comment. You are right in that the scope of how one can integrate social media with CRM is immense and because of lack of better understanding, use cases and case studies, Social Media is used as a channel to monitor various queries and to launch campaigns.

    IMHO companies will go up the learning curve very fast and in the next 12-18 months time frame, we will see companies engage their customers on Social channels in a much better way.

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words, much appreciated!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @nishith_gupta

    Thanks for your comment. You are right in that the scope of how one can integrate social media with CRM is immense and because of lack of better understanding, use cases and case studies, Social Media is used as a channel to monitor various queries and to launch campaigns.

    IMHO companies will go up the learning curve very fast and in the next 12-18 months time frame, we will see companies engage their customers on Social channels in a much better way.

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words, much appreciated!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @nishith_gupta

    Thanks for your comment. You are right in that the scope of how one can integrate social media with CRM is immense and because of lack of better understanding, use cases and case studies, Social Media is used as a channel to monitor various queries and to launch campaigns.

    IMHO companies will go up the learning curve very fast and in the next 12-18 months time frame, we will see companies engage their customers on Social channels in a much better way.

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words, much appreciated!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @markacarbone

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated!

    You are right, we are in the infancy of this new way of “Stakeholder” Service and the tools are difficult to use.

    We need few good use cases and case studies, and companies will go up the learning curve very fast. I guess we will see this happen in the next year or so.

    This underscores importance of hiring good talent when it comes to Social Media marketing and Social CRM to leverage on the “opportunity being left on the table” as you rightly point out!

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @markacarbone

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated!

    You are right, we are in the infancy of this new way of “Stakeholder” Service and the tools are difficult to use.

    We need few good use cases and case studies, and companies will go up the learning curve very fast. I guess we will see this happen in the next year or so.

    This underscores importance of hiring good talent when it comes to Social Media marketing and Social CRM to leverage on the “opportunity being left on the table” as you rightly point out!

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    @markacarbone

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated!

    You are right, we are in the infancy of this new way of “Stakeholder” Service and the tools are difficult to use.

    We need few good use cases and case studies, and companies will go up the learning curve very fast. I guess we will see this happen in the next year or so.

    This underscores importance of hiring good talent when it comes to Social Media marketing and Social CRM to leverage on the “opportunity being left on the table” as you rightly point out!

    Thanks again for your comment and kind words!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    Thanks Tewksbum for your comment, much appreciated!

    What I have highlighted in my post is the importance of “Social” dimension of Social CRM. It is different from CSR answering calls from customers, and the importance of using this “Social” dimension effectively.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    Thanks Tewksbum for your comment, much appreciated!

    What I have highlighted in my post is the importance of “Social” dimension of Social CRM. It is different from CSR answering calls from customers, and the importance of using this “Social” dimension effectively.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • http://hkotadia.com/ Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

    Thanks Tewksbum for your comment, much appreciated!

    What I have highlighted in my post is the importance of “Social” dimension of Social CRM. It is different from CSR answering calls from customers, and the importance of using this “Social” dimension effectively.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • fiona

    love your post, thank you! Just starting up a new business with a doctor and online sales and want to implement all the systems just right from the star.. (ok you can all laugh ;-) So picking the correct CRM, that will integrate with the outsourced call center, fulfillment, affiliate programs, social media, chats, em, text, ipad, iphones and shopping carts that can all work and talk together seamlessly is an overwhelming sea of data – but alas i am still floating and your blog helped me make sure I try to rally the social parts, and yes, love it that the customers can support each other as well!

    Any direction, advice, starting from scratch and need all from designer, web, all the way through. At least we have formulations, and manufacturing..! (did I hear some people say, poor girl, been there!)

    many thanks

    Fiona

  • fiona

    love your post, thank you! Just starting up a new business with a doctor and online sales and want to implement all the systems just right from the star.. (ok you can all laugh ;-) So picking the correct CRM, that will integrate with the outsourced call center, fulfillment, affiliate programs, social media, chats, em, text, ipad, iphones and shopping carts that can all work and talk together seamlessly is an overwhelming sea of data – but alas i am still floating and your blog helped me make sure I try to rally the social parts, and yes, love it that the customers can support each other as well!

    Any direction, advice, starting from scratch and need all from designer, web, all the way through. At least we have formulations, and manufacturing..! (did I hear some people say, poor girl, been there!)

    many thanks

    Fiona

  • About Dr. Harish Kotadia


    That's me with photo gear,  taking snaps of Texas wild flowers. #texas

  • Dr. Harish Kotadia

  • Dr. Harish Kotadia is an industry recognized thought leader on Big Data and Analytics with more than fifteen years' experience as a hands-on Big Data, Analytics and BI Program/Project Manager implementing Enterprise Solutions for Fortune 500 clients in the US.

    He also has five years' work experience as a Research Executive in Marketing Research and Consulting industry working for leading MR organizations such as Gallup.

    Dr. Harish Kotadia's educational qualification includes Ph.D. in Marketing Management. Subject of his doctoral thesis was Customer Satisfaction and it involved building a statistical model for predicting satisfaction of clients with services of their ad agency.

    His educational qualification also includes M.B.A. and B.B.A. with specialization in Marketing Management and Diploma in Computer Applications.

    Dr. Harish Kotadia currently works as Principal Data Scientist and Client Partner, Big Data and Analytics at a Global Consulting Company. Views and opinion expressed in this blog are his own.



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