David Ogilvy, popularly referred to as the father of modern advertising, once said “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her“ (for more, see Confessions of an Advertising Man, p. 96, Ballantine Books: quoted here).
In these days of gender equality, we can rephrase this quote as “The consumer isn’t a moron; he/she is your spouse”, but the fact remains that a customer is the most important person for any business, more so in a competitive economy where customers have many choices. You may ask what that has got to do with Social CRM? Let me explain:
The sole reason any business, be a mom and pop store serving a small community or a multi-national corporation (MNC) having tens of thousands of employees across several countries with thousands of products and millions of customers, exists is to serve its customers. All business decisions and actions undertaken by every employee are aimed at satisfying needs and wants of customers, starting right from understanding customers’ needs/wants, designing a product, manufacturing the product, distributing and marketing the product and post sales support. Any action not aimed at making customers happy is fruitless or is counter-productive.
Heavy up-front investments are made (fixed costs incurred) in the process of creation and delivery of a product or a service with the assumption that the customer will like what is being offered and will purchase the product. Any active customer involvement in product design, manufacture and delivery process is ‘minimal’ at the best through market research. This results not only in costly product failures/increased risk for the business but also higher sales and support costs.
In ‘Social Age’, it is not only possible, but incredibly easy and inexpensive for business to collaborate with customers and work together irrespective of physical location and other barriers. Thanks to social networking technology, business has an opportunity to engage customer and prospects in ‘real-time’ at every stage of product design, manufacture and delivery process in order to minimize risks and maximize value delivered to customers.
Question is not how business can afford to engage customer on social media, it is how business cannot afford NOT to engage customers on Social Media channels. Social CRM, which has been defined as the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty is the way to go for business (for more, see this).
To quote David Ogilvy again, “the consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife”. Wouldn’t you want to engage your spouse or significant other (customers in this case) on an ongoing basis? And we all know the costs if we don’t engage significant people in our life, don’t we?