What happens when you combine a new buzzword (“social”) with an old buzzword (“CRM”)? You get the opportunity to waste money in entirely new ways.
Many CRM projects failed because they focused on the implementation of technology, not on the core needs of the business. Social CRM has the same potential. That’s why one of the 7 keys to customer experience that I listed in CRM Magazine was “Don’t get too distracted by social media.”
Am I recommending that companies stay away from social media? Absolutely not. Firms definitely need to tap into peer-to-peer and community-centered interactions. But they should focus on a few applications that match their business strategy. If you’re wondering about the spectrum of options, Altimeter Group has posted a list of 18 use cases for social media.
Here are the top social media projects that I recommend for companies (when it comes to customer experience):
- Social support. Find ways to encourage and enable customers to help other customers; especially when there is significant technical support required. Blend your support people into the dialogue where needed and repurpose good advice into knowledge items that can be repurposed in other channels.
- Feedback communities. Create online communities of your key customer segments so that you can regularly get feedback on everything from product development ideas to the language used for marketing campaigns. Make sure to actively manage the community.
- Active listening. Monitor social outlets for early warning of issues and to get deeper insights into problems that you find through other listening posts. Handle this insight as part of a comprehensive, cross-channel voice of the customer (VoC) program.
The best way to defend yourself against negative social media feedback is to give customers a good experience to begin with. This lowers the number of people who might say something bad about you and motivates other customers to come to your defense if they do.
The bottom line: Social CRM represents opportunity, but not a panacea