In one of my earlier post, I defined Social CRM as follows:
Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers
through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty.
Loyalty is defined as attitude towards a brand that inclines a customer
to repurchase it and/or recommend it to others. Social CRM and Social
Media are more about building trust and managing loyalty with customers
than about managing relationships or transactions, which are focus areas
of “traditional” CRM.
I received a lot of great feedback on this definition and want to elaborate further on it to answer some of the questions raised by readers of this blog.
Let’s break-down the definition to its individual components:
1) Social CRM is the business strategy: It is not
technology, tools or platform. Fundamentally, Social CRM is a business
strategy. It is widely accepted by Social CRM practitioners and SMEs
that Social CRM is a business strategy.
2) Engaging Customers through Social Media: Engagement through Social Media is the most important aspect of my definition. Any
CRM related activity through existing channels like the telephone,
email, snail mail etc.. will continue to be part of “traditional” CRM
and will not be replaced by Social CRM (unless the Customer prefers to
use Social Media instead of “traditional” channels).
Thus, Social CRM will augment “traditional” CRM, but will not replace
it. And for some industries like health care or financial services,
emphasis will continue to be more on “traditional” channels and not on
Social ones for privacy related issues (who would want to tweet about
their bank account or health condition). Traditional CRM channels will
offer more private communication as compared to “public” Social CRM
Having said Social CRM will augment traditional CRM and not replace it – let me add that Social CRM will be well integrated into overall CRM
platform and systems with a 360 degree view of the Customer with feeds
from all major Social channels. Customer will have a choice on what
channels to use and organizations will reach out to the Customer based
on that choice.
3) with goal of building trust and brand loyalty: Ultimate goal of Customer Engagement through Social Media is to build (a) Trust
and (b) Brand Loyalty. I have used the word “Trust” before “Loyalty” for
a reason because Social Media has introduced the “trust” dimension to
Before the Social Media age, Trust in marketing relationship was
limited to face-to-face interactions (like friendly neighbourhood coffee
shop or grocery shop). What Social Media has done is to make it
possible for any one to have the same sort of one-to-one relationship
irrespective of geography. This kind of one-to-one relationships based
on mutual “trust” are not possible through “traditional” CRM channels
like phone, mail or emails.
While “traditional” CRM helped manage Customer Relationships on a massive scale, it did not help in building mutual trust between buyers
and sellers as it is impossible to build “trust” with thousands of
customers over phone or mail. For building Trust, you need to know your
partner well and not just be limited to mere “transactions” as was the
case with “traditional” CRM. Social Media provides the opportunity to
marketers to become “personal”, interact with thousands of customers
spread across geography on one-to-one basis so that marketer and the
customer get to know each other so well as to trust each other – the
essence of a true relationship.
Second most important goal of Social CRM is to build Customer Loyalty –
the ultimate goal of any business! Some have interpreted my definition
as not being “customer focused” or “customer centric” or being “Social
Media Centric”. This is not correct. The very fact that goal of Social
CRM in my definition is to build Customer Loyalty implies that it is
“Customer Centric” – as you cannot build loyalty without having a
Hope this clarifies many questions that were raised regarding my definition of Social CRM. Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.