The Multimedia Social Thread or The Social Media Multithread


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Today, conversations, or threads, can take place over time and through a number of traditional channels. For example, you’re on the golf course with a client and he asks you to send him some more information on the topic you just mentioned. So, first you call him and leave a voice mail with the information he requested. Then, you think, I’ll just shoot him an email as well. Your customer reads the email, and replies with a number of questions. You call him back on the phone and suggest that you schedule a face to face meeting in his office. Then you have the meeting.

A real world thread isn’t just a conversation in a forum.

A major problem I’ve seen with traditional CRM platforms is that they do not present threads, so you can’t easily see the contextual conversation that took place. It’s almost like raw data. It’s there, but you have to piece it together yourself. This is one of the reasons I thought Google Wave might be cool (it’s not – yet) because it could have helped tie this together better in a single interface. So why do I bring this up?

Social CRM, as a platform, will now have to deal with many more channels. I like to call them that, sorry. Anyway, not only will we have more channels – like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, various social support platforms, blog comments via salmon protocol, etc – we will still have the same problem of tying these all together. Not just tying them to a centrally managed Contact record, but placing them in the context of a conversation, or thread, as well. He’s an example:

Here’s what can happen in the real world, the social world:

  • A customer and a vendor play some golf, a discussion about a new product develops and the customer asks for more information
  • The rep sends an email to follow up with the information that was requested by the customer
  • The customer calls because he has some more questions, but got the reps voice mail. The rep dutifully  notes this.
  • The rep then returns the call and answers the questions, and dutifully notes this in his CRM system.
  • The next day, the rep notices a comment on the customer’s Facebook wall and it appears that he is talking about the topic they just discussed.
  • The rep responds on wall to clarify a point that was made by the customer
  • The client happens to see this on his Facebook stack in TweetDeck and replies private as a Twitter direct message to make sure they are on the same page.
  • The rep responds with a phone call because he likes the phone, it’s private and he can have a better dialog. He dutifully notes this in his CRM application.
  • The client shouts for joy on on his LinkedIn Status because he finally gets it and can’t wait to try the new product.
  • The rep responds with a phone call for a celebration lunch
  • The two have lunch and talk about new things. The rep dutifully notes this in his CRM application
  • The rep notices that the customer commented on one of the new topics they discussed in related online forum….

…the thread may end, but the relationship goes on.

As we move forward into the world of Social CRM, I believe it will not only be important to bring all of these channels together in the context of the Contact you have the relationship with, it’s also time that we produced a visible thread for each conversation in that relationship. This is critical. Just think, you may have to add a third party into this thread and it becomes nearly impossible for this person to get context other than what you tell them. In addition, you have no ability to go back later and understand how different operators are producing their results. Tying them together better, will help.

Digging through raw touch points and trying to makes sense of it will only get harder in the social CRM world. Whatever we call this type of conversation, it needs to become a reality soon. We’ve been waiting years for this.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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