I’m no an expert on social CRM and I suspect that I’m not alone out there. Much like social media, however, anyone can claim to be an expert on social CRM these days. For a few reasons, though, I’m intrigued by the term and do think that it’s here to stay. First, some of my future writing will involve this topic and I’m in research mode. Second, I’m no neophyte when it comes to customer service (more on that later).
As I survey the Social CRM landscape, I came across a pretty interesting post by Maria Ogneva. Maria is the Director of Social Media at Attensity, a social media engagement company. Particularly interesting in Maria’s definition of the social customer:
The social customer expects you to listen and engage with her, not only when it coincides with an e-mail blast or new feature release, but rather when she needs you. And you better respond fast, in real-time, or she will either move on to a competitor, or tell her friends about her bad experiences.
Now, I can’t speak for all customers, but for me this definition hits the nail on the head. I’ll use myself as a case-in-point. When a product or service doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, I’d like a resolution–and soon. Yes, I know that large companies have tens of thousands of customers, if not more. Things fall between the cracks and mistakes are made. Nobody’s perfect. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But here’s the thing:
I don’t care.
When I have to deal with customer service, I want at least the illusion of movement on my issue. Don’t even think about insisting that I continue to call 1-800 numbers, playing “dial-a-rep” to find someone capable of helping me. That’s so ’90s. Ignore me at your own peril. I’ll quickly get angry and, at a minimum, move to a new vendor. Oh, and by the way, I’ll mention my bad experience to anyone in person, on my blog, via Twitter and Facebook, and the like.
For more on this, watch a 90-second video on the social customer.
1990s Customer Service
In 1994, I graduated college and began working in customer service at Sony Electronics. It was a decent job that involved a good deal of listening to upset customers. (No one calls customer service and waits on hold for fifteen minutes just to praise you.) Now, Sony wasn’t foolish. They weren’t about to put me on the phone with irate parents complaining that their camcorder didn’t work and their daughter’s second birthday was in three days. No, I had to attend training with other new hires. I remember one statistic from that class like it was yesterday. According to Sony research, the average dissatisfied customer told 60 people about his/her experience.
Anyone want to guess what that number is today?
I have no idea but I’d wager that it’s a great deal higher than that. Now, remember that, the Internet was technically around in 1994, but few people actually used it.
Fast forward to today. News Flash: More than a few people use the Internet.
At a bare minimum, companies need to understand that their customers are social, even if they’re not. What? You think that not having a website, blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account means that your customers are not talking about you? Get real. On a different level, Social CRM isn’t new at all. To me, it’s about using available tools to take care of a business’ most important asset: it’s customers. Take away customers, and shareholders, board members, and employees all go away. The main difference between customer service in the 1990s and the 2010s is that there are more clubs in the bag. Make sure that you use them.
What’s your view of the social customer? Has the Internet and social media swung the pendulum back towards the customer?
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