• Harish, being “local”  on its own is insufficient. It is far more important to be relevant, especially when it comes to higher value products. If you do not offer relevant products or services, or lack the ability to make your products and services relevant then being local doesn’t help you a great deal. As a counter example have a look at Apple. They managed to make their products and services extremely relevant with some genius moves. Are they local? Not really. There is not a single Apple Retail Store in NZ ;-). Other examples include Dell and Amazon. They are not local, but offer relevant products and services via various means, including ease of use, price, breadth of offering, value added services like recommendations, …

    Cheers
    Thomas

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Thomas. Much appreciated!

    You are right, being relevant is important. But when it comes to Social CRM, the best way to be relevant is to be local – as only “local” sales and support staff can provide the best service that customers expect in social age. Who wants to talk to a rep, on phone, who doesn’t have the right context?

    Thanks again for your comment:

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  • Hi Harish,

    thanks for your answer! Let’s get the discussion continued:

    I would argue that especially Dell amongst the mentioned companies has a social CRM strategy in place. Add Giff Gaff into the mix. 

    Looking at these companies one can observe that “being local” is not the core criterion but probably being knowledgeable, approachable, and appearing to be human. I think that, in order to get/have the right context it essentially needs the right data and then, of course, the right attitude.

    Social CRM is a means to become/stay relevant. Being local is imho one way, not the only one and (again imho) not the key one. Imagine local staff having a “don’t care” attitude or local staff not having the knowledge.

    Who would you prefer to interact with? The local staff who might know and doesn’t care about you or the person in a far away country (probably via a community) with keen interest in getting your problem solved and the knowledge or, at minimum, an “I’ll find out for you” attitude?

    I actually would go a little further after thinking of it for a while: Being relevant also includes making the right products that meet customer expectations (or surpass them) – without the need to solve problems but the possibility to get the product even improved by being able to participate in a co-creation process. This doesn’t need any locality at all – see Giff Gaff again.

    What do you think?

    Best regards
    Thomas

  • Thanks Thomas for your thought provoking comments. You are absolutely right in that “being knowledgeable, approachable, and appearing to be human” is critical. 

    You are also correct in saying that “in order to get/have the right context it essentially needs the right data and then, of course, the right attitude.”

    But being local is paramount because how would you scale in social CRM other wise? You cannot be relevant, approachable and appear to be human if you try to engage thousands (even tens of thousands or more) customers and prospects from a central or head office. You have to de-centralize and engage your customers at a local level, else Social CRM is impossible. This is what I have highlighted in my post.

    Thanks again for your wonderful comments, greatly appreciated!

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.