Sailing towards the island of Social bliss

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Michael Maoz wrote a terrific post this week: “You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes“. As ever, his post is short, succinct and to the point: “over $75bn spent on CRM-related business applications to date”, yet “over the past ten years the level of customer satisfaction has edged up only slightly – for most industries in the vicinity of 3-5 percent”. He continues “along comes everything “Social” to cure the malady of poor service…”
There are no short cuts to customer success. I wrote an article with friend and colleague Reg Price ten years ago in which we called for back to basics thinking in CRM. We wrote in 2000:
“In next generation CRM, customer relationship management practices and software solutions must reach deep into the most fundamental processes of a firm, like order entry, invoicing and ensure that promises made (whether implicit or explicit) are met. It is superficial (indeed futile!) to try for customer delight if customers are being let down by the basics.”
We commissioned a cartoonist to draw up the cartoon shown below of an organisation sailing towards the “island of customer delight” promised by their shiny new CRM system, whist of course forgetting about the basics of customer relationships:
– Understanding and meeting customer needs- Orders being delivered on time and correct- Bills being accurate- Customer privacy being respected- Front line staff having the right incentives in place- etc

It’s interesting to note that in many respects, little has changed in the last 10 years. The cartoon above could easily be applied to Social CRM:
– Let’s not worry about customer service issues – our customers will fix problems on our behalf in our forum!- Forget about traditional marketing – Customers will forward our blogs, re-tweet our Tweets  and “like” us on Facebook!- Why bother generating new product ideas? – Customers will suggest ideas on our ideas site
Of course, Social CRM offers organisations huge potential to listen and respond to the direct and authentic voice of the customer. I’ve argued previously that in many ways it represents the missing piece of the CRM puzzle. And of course, there are many examples of organisations like GiffGaff, Threadless, Dell & Starbucks  who are successfully harnessing the power of the social customer to get their customers working on their behalf. But simply adopting the tools, without the mindset, the processes, the incentives is a recipe for disaster. Surely we remember that from the boom and bust of CRM?

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