Why Social CRM and not traditional CRM, makes a company more emotionally intelligent

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The book titled: CRM at the speed of light: Social CRM 2.0 strategies, tools and techniques for engaging your customers, written by social CRM thought leader, Paul Greenberg, is like a go-to-guide or bible of Social CRM. Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as: “a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It is the company’s programmatic response to the customer’s control of the conversation.” He believes this is the era of the social customer and there is the need for a new approach- a new platform in the form of Social CRM.

Difference between traditional CRM and Social CRM

Paul Greenberg also enthused that traditional CRM is based on an internal operational and mechanical approach to manage customer relationships effectively. On the other hand, Social CRM is premised on the ability of a company to satisfy the personal agendas of their customers, whilst actualising corporate objectives. In social CRM, the customer is not just the focal point for value creation but they are also given room to actively participate in the realization of the value.

My main aim of writing this piece is to highlight the reasons why Social CRM would help a company become more emotionally aware of her customers’ feelings, needs and priorities.

    Reasons why Social CRM will make a company more emotionally intelligent:

Customer engagement and not management: Social CRM is concerned about engaging with the customer. One of the pre-requisites to engaging with someone is to understand their personality and emotional dispositions. Knowing where they are coming from, their passions, personality type and what makes them thick, might be the clue to engaging with them.

New and Emerging field: Social CRM is an emerging field and with all things new, we tend to observe more. Companies implementing a Social CRM strategy, tend to observe more as it all seems a bit new. By doing that, it helps them to study customer behaviour more adequately and act accordingly.

A community and not a command: Social CRM offers a community of concerned customers and not a command, where one man speaks and the rest take orders. In Social CRM, feelings are respected and the communal spirit is enhanced. Companies cannot give orders but are part of the community and expected to understand and enhance the vibe of the community.

 Open and Visible Comparison: Social CRM platforms like online review sites as feefo.com, Yelp and Trustpilot, customers could instantly compare your reviews with that of the competition. This assists businesses to be more careful and emotionally aware on how they interact with the customers- as customers can easily compare a company performance and make instant buying decisions.

Encourages authenticity and transparency in customer interaction: In an open online community like Twitter, Facebook or TripAdvisor, you can’t afford to fake the interaction. So many would-be customers are reading, to see how you handle the emotional outcry of your customers. Being authentic, real and sincere in handling customer concerns and worries helps your organization become more emotionally intelligent.

 Integration of social media sharing tools: When a customer calls your call centre and the customer interaction is inputted to a traditional CRM tool, nobody could easily share it on Twitter, Pinterest or any relevant platform. The thought of knowing that a reply to a customer on a platform like Trustpilot, could be shared on other social media platforms, makes you pause for a bit, to understand the emotional triggers of the customer behaviour. Are they just angry at your service or have they just been having a tough time with their employer?

Information-seeking and information-contributing behaviour: Paul Greenberg believes social CRM is not just concerned on seeking for information from the customer but also allowing them to freely express themselves through contributions. In traditional CRM, customers are sometimes shut down and do not have enough time to express their emotions of disgust or delight. They are contributors in Social CRM, not just mere contributors but emotional contributors.

Customer owned interactions: Customers own the interactions in Social CRM. This affords them ample opportunity to express their emotions better. A company is a participant and not a moderator. In this situation, a company will do more listening and customers do more talking. This would help the companies to be more equipped in understanding the emotional inclinations of her customers.

Focus on environments and experiences: Social CRM focuses a lot on the environment and experiences that engage customers. Traditional CRM is focused more on products and services that satisfy the customers. When a company spends more time looking at the environment and experiences that engage customers, they tend to understand a customer’s emotional triggers more. Are they acting all impatient and inconsiderate because it snowed and they live in a very cold/temperate country? These are the questions that would help you understand their emotional fabric and engage with them more effectively.

More clarifications on customer interaction: In Social CRM, customers and other community members can make comments on customer complaints, questions, praise and query- that would help you understand your customers better and refrain from making assumptions.

Peer to Peer relationship: It is a relationship between the company and the customer at a peer to peer level, where the emotions are unlikely to be controlled or manipulated but understood and optimised for a win-win outcome.

Social CRM is akin to a customer ecosystem, where they feel very comfortable to express their emotions regarding your product or service. It is an open community, where understanding and effectively responding to the emotions of all parties is crucial.

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