The Roadmap to SCRM – Part 2.1 of 5


Share on LinkedIn

First part is available here for your review.

This was supposed to be part 2.0 but an exchange in the comments section to part one convinced me that I was assuming a lot of things were known when in reality they may not be known.  So, instead of 2.0 this is part 2.1 where we discuss the three elements in the model I could not discuss at length in part 1: actionable insights, experiences, and the pivot point.  Part 2.2 will be tomorrow-ish, where we talk more about what functions are necessary, strategies, and methodologies for that.  Yes, heavy stuff but will try to make it look like fun.

OK, so there are three critical elements in the SCRM implementation model that I discussed yesterday that need more details.  Here is the model so you can see them again:

The Road to SCRM - Fit Within the Organization

Figure 1 – The Road to SCRM – Fit Within the Organization

Let’s talk first about the Social Business Pivot Point.  This is the hand-off (in both directions) between Enterprise 2.0 implementations and SCRM implementations.  This is also the critical point where you decide whether a business is a social business or not.  Why?  Good question, three things need to happen here for the business to reflect it is social:

  • The pivot point must ensure that the entire process occurs; that the feedback from the customer does indeed get acted on and that those actions result in better experiences back to the customer.  Customers care about the experiences – whether in the form or better products, improved services, or more personalized interfaces.  This is why this pivot point is there, acting as a “Listening Post” that marries performance and efficiency from internal operations with effectiveness and “satisfaction” from client-facing operations.  If you cannot correlate the metrics from both sides to make sure you are on track to deliver against expectations, you are going in the wrong direction.  We are going to cover the metrics more in a future installment, but for now you have to remember that measuring only one side of this picture is not going to work, nor will it measuring both sides and not correlating them.
  • The pivot point ensures that the social business is about more than just listening to customers.  Look at this other picture to get a better idea of that.

Figure 2 - the Social Business Pivot Point in Action

Figure 2 – the Social Business Pivot Point in Action

What you see here is the social business in action using the pivot point as the real hand-off between the SCRM functions and the rest of the enterprise.  If it makes you feel better, you can add an S in front of the three systems in the back, but that does not change a thing: you still need the pivot point to make sure that all feedback and data collected by SCRM is spread throughout the systems in the enterprise to reach the intended destination where it can be acted on.  These three systems, examples really, are not meant to replace Enterprise 2.0 but are rather an example of the specific functions that a SCRM implementation will affect within the organization. Feedback about the length of time it takes the organization to process a refund payment (for example) would be used to improve the ERP financial functions.  Feedback about quality of raw materials can be used to improve SCM and so forth.

  • The pivot point ensures that a corporation remains customer-centric not only on talk, but on action.  Letting the customers know that their feedback begets an actionable insight that is later put in practice by a specific part of the organizations, and seeing the loop being closed by a better or new experience is the quintessential implementation of feedback management.  If an organization is committed to becoming a social business sufficiently to do that, then you can almost ensure that they are customer-centric.

Last two critical elements talk about the paths that information takes from the customer into the organization (feedback becomes actionable insights) and back out to the customer (end-to-end processes support experiences).  Lets talk about the information coming in first.

I have said many times before that
SCRM is about adding social channels to a CRM implementation, and still think that is true.  However, the main difference is that these channels produce unstructured data.  In contrast with a telephone call to a call center where all the data is structured and fits in specific places (or is forever ignored in “wrap-up notes”), a social channel statement could be addressed to someone other than the corporation, use language that may not be well defined by the organization, and produce feedback that is always unstructured.  The true work for organizations embracing SCRM is not monitoring social media channels (there are plenty of tools that allow you to do that) but actually feeding that information into analytical tools that will:

  1. understand what is being said,
  2. analyze it for relevance and content,
  3. classify it,
  4. aggregate it to form actionable insights (more than one person must express a problem for it to be a problem; two is a pattern, and three is a trend), and
  5. feed it back through the pivot point into the corporation for it to be handled

This is a little bit more complicated that I make it sound and that you can imagine.  Monitoring and collecting data is the easy part, but using the text analytics tools that are necessary to draw the meaning and content out of unstructured data requires a heavy investment of resources (not just money, it is not that expensive) and time to make sure that good data goes in and good results is inferred and deducted from the analysis.  Alas, without this investment there is no point in collecting the data.  Humans don’t scale to the point they can read all comments and act on them, nor do computers auto-magically understand what is being said.  Text analytics is a critical tool of this model.

Tired yet?  On to the final part: building or improving the experiences.

I am not going to go into a deep discussion of co-creation, systems thinking, design thinking and / or the different methods to accomplish this.  I have my own methodology for this, some like it some don’t – works for me and the people that used it in the past.  Really does not matter how you address the issue of building customer experiences – feel free to debate merits and problems for each method in the comments below (sorry, I am not going to engage in the discussion of one being better than the other – I love all my kids equally).

However, and here is the key,  you need to make sure that you have the ability to deploy and support those experiences.

What does that mean?  Your business needs to be setup in such a way that is easy to change processes and make modifications to the way it works. Most organizations are setup in such a way that any change requires committees, political fights, complicated approval processes and virtually no executive support.  If that is you, then no matter how much you talk about being customer-centric, you ain’t.  I realize this is not ground-breaking as saying “here is the best way to do customer experiences” – but this is one the most critical parts of adopting SCRM.  If you cannot walk the talk when it comes to closing the loop (implementing the actionable insights you gathered before) don’t bother going there.

Remember the old adage, throwing technology at a bad process simply transforms it into a very fast, bad process.

OK, part 2.1 is done.  Tomorrow (maybe tonight) part 2.2. – a little bit more detail on the specific functions you have to embrace to embrace SCRM and how to make them work with the rest of the enterprise.

What do you think so far? I think that the pivot point as a listening post is an interesting take on the model (then again, I wrote it) – don’t you? Would you add or change something?

Esteban Kolsky
ThinkJar, LLC
Esteban Kolsky is the founder of CRM intelligence & strategy where he works with vendors to create go-to market strategies for Customer Service and CRM and with end-users leveraging his results-driven, dynamic Customer Experience Management methodology to earn and retain loyal customers. Previously he was a well-known Gartner analyst and created a strategic consulting practice at eVergance.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here