I was originally going to write this post to cover the fact that Social CRM is also the customers’ responsibility and not just the companies’. Then I realized that at the end of the day most customers don’t really care about what their responsibilities are, they want their needs and demands met and that’s all there is to it.
Mitch Lieberman makes an excellent point when he says that Twitter helps promote bad social customer behavior. Here is the example that Mitch provides to help illustrate his point:
In order to get your cable box fixed you needed to go down to the local service provider office. It just so happens that you have your 5 yo daughter in tow. The drive is 20 minutes, you figure the line should not be too bad – ooops, wrong, you need to stand in line for an hour or more. While in line, after 1/2 hour the person who just came in the door starts to yell really loudly about poor service.
The truth of the matter is that Twitter in a way has spoiled the social customer into thinking that they can get instant gratification (Mitch calls twitter instant gratification meets CRM, NOT a SCRM tool). Meaning if I’m angry and turn to American Airlines on twitter to complain, that I should get a response instantly and it better be a darn good response too! Users with the biggest networks can technically make the most amount of noise and thus feel that they are entitled to service first. The issue here is that the common interpretation of influence has become synonymous with network size instead of actual influence. Of course it can also be argued that once you have network that is large enough, even though you yourself may not be an influencer for a particular topic, one of your connections will be and if that connection shares your content well then, you’re now an influencer (albeit a temporary one).
This all boils down to customer expectations and the structure of the relationship between the company and the customer. One of the ways I just wrote about to help address this issue is with Social Service Level Agreements which I think can help clarify expectations between customers and companies.
Yes twitter is a real time CHANNEL but just like any other channel (phone, email, feedback form) there needs to be a process in place that addresses how to handle incoming (or outgoing) interactions. This post isn’t about twitter and these processes that need to be created should apply to ANY channel where the company and the customer interact. This shouldn’t be new and it’s actually not that big of a deal.
We need to look at two realities:
- Should the company respond to every single complaint or issue? No
- Can the company respond to every single complain or issue? No
In the history of the social CRM and social media world there are MAYBE 2 cases (that I know of) where negative information about a company spread via social media has actually been able to negatively impact financial performance. These 2 cases (maybe) are Dell Hell and United Breaks Guitars. Social media is not purely a support channel (even though that is how it most commonly used). The real value from Social CRM doesn’t come from the ability to listen or even to continuously respond to customer complaints. Negative feedback is actually what propelled many companies to actually join the social web to begin with but again, this is not where the value resides.
The real value from SCRM comes from being able to change how your company does business and improving the user experience. Simply responding to as many comments or tweets as possible is senseless and not scalable. A much better solution is to actually fix the problems the customers are identifying and collaborating with your customers to help give them what they want. This is part of what being a social business is all about.
Companies looking to get involved in the social web are put under a lot of pressure to respond to everyone all the time. However, if a company is actually fixing and working on what the customers are saying is an “issue,” then there is really no need to respond to every single person. If a company is responding to everyone all the time then the issue isn’t support it’s the actual product or service itself and that is what needs to be fixed. I believe there’s a famous quote that goes something like:
The best (social) CRM strategy is where the company doesn’t have to get involved.
I’m working on a post dealing with SCRM automation which I will put out out soon but in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.