If Social CRM, Social Networking, Social Media or Social Business had the sponsor of a letter, it would be the letter ‘C‘. The reason however is not what you think, of course you need to be Customer Centric, but this post goes beyond that. This post aggregates and builds upon the work of others, who highlight this wonderful letter, as you should as well.
(note, this is my first post since starting Comity Technology Advisors)
Generation C (your customer, now or in the very near future)
Generation C – Cross-generation (source: Springwise and Paul Greenberg) Generation C spans from Boomers through Gen X and Gen Y right up to Millennial. From a customer perspective, this represents change, highlights peer influence and alters who I trust. Generation C is:
- Content-driven – We are producers; blogs, text, images, audio and video, etc.,…
- Connected – Phone, Email, Messaging, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, RSS
- Creative – We are able to choose the form of Content that allows us to express our thoughts
- Collaborative – We like working with Friends, Peers, Mentors, Partners…Oh, and Customers
- Contextual – What we say, do and think is highly dependent upon where and when we are
- Communicative – Sometimes without a filter, we say what we say
Organizations need to act, react or just prepare
In his book, (RE)(ORGANIZE) FOR RESILIENCE, Author Ranjay Gulati uses the following to describe the “resilience tool kit”. The book is a worthwhile read, an important theme is centered around why organizations are having trouble keeping up with the pace of change displayed by their customers. The following is my interpretation of the author’s “5 Cs”:
- Coordination – The alignment of people, process and technology within the organization
- Cooperation – Focus on breaking down silos, addressing cultural and behavioral issues
- Clout – Decentralizing power and allowing front facing individuals to act
- Capabilities – Education and training of all individuals to be, or become customer facing
- Connections – Create internal social networks which extend outward to partners and customers alike
My own additions to the list
During the course of my reading, implementations, discussions and writing, there are few more which you might want to add to the list. These do not represent a strategy, maybe not even an objective or goal, but focusing your time and energy around what these points mean to you, is time well spent.
- Conversation – Make sure you having conversations, not one directional monologues
- Co-Creation – Involve your customers in the process of creating value for each other
- Consistent – The message and approach should be as similar as possible with all customers
- Committed – Once you begin to involve the ecosystem, stick with it!
- Community – The creation of place where your ecosystem feels comfortable enough to hang-out and chat
- Cross-Channel – Engage with your customers when, where and how they want (and it may change mid-conversation)
Some words which require more thought
There are some words which begin with the letter ‘C‘ which are words to pay attention to, but be cautious about. I am not going to say they are right or wrong, they simply need some paying attention to, to make sure you are aware of their power.
- Command – no matter what the goal, an approach will likely have unwanted consequences
- Control – Just think through what it means to you and your organization, and be cautious
- Conversion – Many people focus on this metric, what does it mean to you and at what cost
- Convince – Work to create buyers, not convince people to buy your products or services
- Change – The only constant is change – be ready for it
What would you like to add to the list? Did I leave anything out? (Aside from the most obvious, Customer of course)
Here is the Prezi, presented as a Video, my voice overlay. I apologize about the quality, but hey, I was giving it a shot. My approach is to put forth a convincing argument by using the characteristics and attributes that make up the Social Customer, Social CRM and a Social Business; not trying to redefine them. My own struggle has been to place these concepts in the proper context, individually. To try to talk about any of these topics, without bringing up the other two is just hard and many times it just does not make sense. My operating theory is, ‘if I am having trouble a whole lot of other people are as well’. If you are an IT purist, it is like trying to talk about just Cost, just Schedule or or just Scope (not to mention Quality) without talking about the others – they are related, strongly – interdependent.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Before my peers from the Accidental Community slap me silly because of the technology focus of this post, I completely get that any Enterprise initiative, especially CRM, is People, Process, then technology. The focal point here is that the people and process do need a supporting infrastructure in order to truly provide Social CRM. For the purposes herein, Social CRM will use the Paul Greenberg definition:
CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.
A friend and collaborator Prem Kumar Aparanji (@prem_k) has put together a initial take (with good explanation), from an architectural footing, and my objective is to take that one step further. Even as I write, Esteban Kolsky, someone whom I have the utmost respect, has written the history of the world (CRM world), which is an important read. What is important to note, is that as time passes, we are all diving in a little deeper. It is too easy to “wax poetic” at the 50,000 foot level, but we need to help figure out exactly how to do the things we are talking about. Prem even did a little crystal gazing and wrote the prequel to this post Enterprise 2.0 v SocialCRM – Fight or Tango (thanks Prem) – the answer is… down a few paragraphs….
The core of my suggestion:
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel and as technology advances we (business leaders in the CRM arena) should absolutely take advantage of it. There is also no reason, therefore, to ignore the great work being done in the Enterprise 2.0 arena. I am a huge fan of Dion Hinchcliffe – not just one of his posts, a great many of them (cool graphics too). Especially interesting to me are a few recent posts: the August 18, 2009 (Using social software to reinvent the customer relationship)
The elimination of decades of inadequate communication channels will suddenly unleash a tide of many opportunities, as well as challenges, for most organizations.
and September 2, 2009 (Enterprise 2.0 Finding success on the frontiers of social business).
….there is something fundamentally unique and powerful about social computing. Though not all uses of social tools result in rapid adoption or instant results, those that establish an early network effect can and do push existing IT systems
Finally, Dion also spoke of a crucial component of making it all work, citing him one last time (today) the Data obviously a crucial element; August 5, 2009 (The future of enterprise data in a radically open and Web-based world)
Exposing data — whether it is internally within an organization or outside to partners, or even the whole world — is a way of thinking about the very nature of the business, more than it is about achieving a one-off end goal. This is because open data seems to create immediate, close, and powerful relationships between the publisher and the consumer of the data, and leads to a series of unexpected outcomes.
(I thought about posting his great artwork here, but that would not be proper and would not do the articles justice, so take a look when you have a few minutes.)
Here is my line of thinking – Enterprise 2.0, by definition is “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” Andrew McAfee, May 2006 and given the definition of Social CRM above, should it be such a leap to suggest that in order to truly engage the customer, we should invite them into our Enterprise? What better tool set to do this than Enterprise 2.0 tools?
There are lots of very smart people who can solve the technical challenges which will certainly arise – security, access control – just two of I am sure a dozen more. The larger challenges will certainly be on the people and process side – you know, that 80% of the real effort. If we are truly going to be ‘Transparent‘, and foster ‘Trust‘, in addition to one of my friend Graham’s favorite topics Co-Create then we need to treat the customers and partners like family, and invite them into our home.
Graham’s article is certainly worth reading in its entirety, here is one of the key points:
Use just enough collaborative social technologies – Technologies, particularly those that support ‘social networks’, provide the backbone for collaboration between a companies and increasingly, with customers. This doesn’t mean a technology-first approach. But it does mean selecting the right technologies (and only the right ones) to enable effortless collaboration. (0ne of 11 bulleted points which are part of the article, seemed fitting for inclusion here)
In order to accomplish these goals, we really need to think of the customer as an extension of the Enterprise
As we invite the customers into the Enterprise, into our home, it is no longer an ‘us’ and ‘them’ – Customers are no longer managed, rather data is managed, analyzed to and for the benefit of the customer, the company and greater good – Customers are embraced.
It is not about technology, but about the best use of technology. It is not about the platform, but about the people who are the platform (how web 2.0 of me). It is not about one vendor either (I work for a vendor, full disclosure), it is about a solution that can provide the ROI and validation that Enterprise 2.0 is looking for – let’s call it Social CRM.
I do like how Esteban ends his blogs – “OK, I am done now. Let’s open the floodgates of criticism and praise.”
- There is a Big Difference Between Can’t and Won’t
- Stop Thinking in Two Dimensions
- No Beginning, No Middle and No End
- Rethinking the Customer Journey
- The Simplest Thing I Ever Had to Write
- Context Integration, the Future of System to System Interactions
- The Evolution of Customer Community
- The Fine Line Between Personalization and Creepy
- Experience Innovation
- Maybe We are Using the Wrong Words to Describe Collaboration
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