The place where the Customer counts

Free thoughts on CRM, Business and the next big thing

The place where the Customer counts - Free thoughts on CRM, Business and the next big thing

A perspective on Social Media for Customer Service Summit 2013 October 22 – 23rd, New York City played host to the “Social Media for Customer Service Summit” where lots of powerful brands (MasterCard, FedEx, Best Buy, T-Mobile, Comcast, Zappos, McDonald’s and many others) joined to share useful and interesting best practices in the social customer service field.

The main topics covered during the two-day conference dealt mainly with customer service strategy evolution, customer experience impacts, social care team-building, integration with traditional customer service strategies and internal processes, proactive vs. reactive support, measurements and so on.

Among the attendees was Cosimo Palmisano, Vice President of Product Management at Decisyon (a provider of collaborative BI and performance management solutions with customers in USA and Europe) and creator of Decisyon/Ecce, complete social CRM solution – a Decisyon built-in technology – with well-focused social customer service features. Cosimo accepted to give us its personal overview on the summit and on its outcomes.

1. Hi Cosimo, thanks for your availability for this interview and for sharing with us your impressions. First of all tell us something about the summit from a global perspective: how was the location, the agenda, the sessions, the quality of speakers, the other services (catering, Wi-Fi access, etc.) at the event?

This was the 3rd annual Social Media for Customer Service Summit organized by “Useful Social Media”. While it was quite a small two-day event in terms of overall participation by vendors and clients, I believe it was extremely well organized. The main speakers were all key employees from organizations that have been using Social Media for Customer Service. Their perspectives regarding their individual “journeys” with Social Caring, successes, failures, false-starts and the on-going iteration process associated with learning what works and changing what does not work was not only to the point and enlightening, but in each instance validated to me and my colleagues that Decisyon/Ecce (Decisyon/Engage in the US) is ideally suited to this Business Space.

The conference was organized in 1 hour round table sessions with at least 3 companies and a technology provider on the panel. Each session was separated by a 30 minute break for networking. The themes were very narrow in the field of Social CRM and Social Customer Service and the speakers were all senior managers and VPs of digital, Marketing, CRM, Customer Service, etc. no young social media managers.

The location for the conference, which was at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City, was convenient and the conference venue and catering was appropriate for the overall number of attendees (under 200, combined companies and exhibitors). Wi-Fi Access was provided as part of the conference fee and the catering provided (Continental Breakfast and full lunch) was more than sufficient and provided an opportunity to network as well. Should the conference continue to gain support and the number of participants grows, it may become necessary for the organizers to choose another location. However, for what the Summit is today, the venue was excellent.

2. What do you think about the brand and the audience parterre ?

The brands represented as key speakers as well as the brands in the audience all represented “Marquis” names in their industries. One got the sense that from a Social Media perspective that on the ROI associated with Social Caring, they were all challenged with coming up with true business value.

100% of companies represented were in the Fortune 500 and they have shown great commitment in managing Social CRM and Social Customer Service, having dedicated teams and starting looking for a complete, one-stop technical solution for managing all social CRM processes from operations to data integration.

Speakers consistently voiced the opinion that determining ROI was difficult at this stage, however all seemed to agree that there was “no return on ignoring” their customers.

3. In general, which were your prior expectations about the event and its contents?

I had imagined that the organizations in the US would be much further along with their Social Caring initiatives and investment. And although this conference represents a small percentage of all organizations, I believe that my prior expectations were incorrect and that the North American market represents a significant opportunity for our organization to penetrate with Decisyon/Engage. I was expecting much more maturity in measuring the ROI of Social Customer Service and a higher degree of integration between social data and traditional legacy data. What we are doing with customers in Europe is really more advanced.

4. Which are the topics that you were more interested in following and deepening?

  • The goals of Social Caring leaders to leverage Social Data and to combine that data with their legacy CRM one inside the firewall, thereby transforming data into a company asset. This, of course, is something that Decisyon is capable of doing; in fact, Decisyon offers our “Social Integration Server” (SIS) that is designed to accomplish that integration of Social Data with Legacy/CRM Data.
  • The goal of creating a technological infrastructure that enables Real-Time Collaboration between organizational business units, for example Customer Service and Marketing. Decisyon, by providing a Real-Time Social Collaboration platform, is offering today what seems to be one of the next steps on the Social Technology roadmaps many of the speakers referred to.

5. Which of the case studies that were exhibited impressed you the most?

That is a difficult question to answer because all of the presentations provided excellent perspectives and insights. I’d have to say that the presentation from Capital One Bank was the most impressive. Their goal is to “harness the voice of the customer” by creating a “Social Command Center” and leveraging what they term a “Social Virtuous Cycle” in which they “Listen—Engage—Support—MeasureLearn”. They acknowledge that in order to be successful with that strategy, they’ll be required to capture customer insights from Social and populate their Enterprise CRM. They mentioned some integration projects in order to correlate social customer behaviors with the sales cycles.

6. Tell us something about the most relevant results that emerged from the summit? Did you find significant ideas for your next product developments?

The most significant take-aways from the summit can be summed up as follows:

  • Social Caring provides opportunities to transform ordinary moments (issues, challenges) into Extraordinary Public Wins.
  • Social Customer operations cannot be externalized to agencies.
  • Although there is a huge proliferation of social networks, Facebook and Twitter are the ones with the numbers and relevance for social customer service.
  • Though marketing departments were the early adopters of leveraging Social, it has now become evident that Social Customer Service should be a major driver. The Social strategy should not be “owned” by one or the other but rather be approached in a collaborative environment.
  • Integration of social data with legacy systems is mandatory to achieve a positive ROI.
  • Prior to engaging in Social Caring, a Customer Service escalation process should be in place.
  • Social Media initiatives for Customer Support and Service are growing rapidly.
  • Customers desire in-channel problem resolution as opposed to deflection.
  • Social Caring engagement/communications should be similar to one friend speaking with another rather than a Corporation speaking to a customer.
  • Collaboration between teams (Customer Service — Marketing— Product Development) is imperative.
  • The customer expects rapid acknowledgement of an issue by the organization. Great customer service does not simply provide a competitive advantage but is, in fact, an absolute necessity.
  • Sentiment analysis is useless if the first aim is to engage customers in Facebook and Twitter. The ability to automatically infer sentiment in short conversations, with links and multiple languages is still a utopia.

7. After your summit attendance, how do you foresee the next developments in social customer service?

First of all the number of dedicated agents on social customer service will increase. As long as the CEOs will experience a lower number of inbound phone calls, and managers will show the ROI of Social Customer Service the companies will reinforce the message and the teams.

Social Customer Service as part of a multichannel strategy needs to be processed together with the traditional channels. It will be necessary to compare channels but also to get a unique customer view independently by the channel. So far, companies will ask for technologies that are not just social marketing tools but big data platforms that are able to store, analyze and connect different sources of data coming from different departments and functional areas.

Finally yet importantly, social customer service can become the first mandatory step to drive and enhance lead generation. In our experience companies that are able to leverage technology and a social caring process via collaboration, are able to increase the number of prospects and customers that instead of complaining, will ask for upsells and new quotations.

Another relevant aspect not discussed is the B2B side of Social CRM. In the next few years this will become even more compelling for companies to involve the whole value chain in the social processes.

8. Finally, being a multinational social CRM vendor, do you perceive specific differences, between US and European customers, in awareness and consequent adoption of social media for customer service strategies?

Excellent Customer Service is a major differentiator for organizations in both Europe and the US. The Social “Genie” is out of the bottle and regardless of purpose-driven Social Caring being in place, the voice of your customers will be heard. Of course, the way I view this is that it represents an opportunity, not only for Decisyon but for our clients as well. I was expecting a major difference between the two markets. Social Customer service is a major issue. In US the percentage of companies with a dedicated teams with more than 20 agents 24/7 is higher than in Europe. Worldwide we share the same aim of multi-channel integration and social data integration with legacy systems. In both areas it is becoming recognized that this kind of integration cannot be performed in the cloud but must occur inside the company firewall.

Odio il digital marketing so lo so, il titolo è sicuramente molto provocatorio ma d’altronde lo è anche questo post. Vorrei però dichiarare che in realtà adoro il marketing e soprattutto le sue declinazioni nel contesto digitale. Il nocciolo delle mie considerazioni verte più sulla presa d’atto che in un periodo di grande entusiasmo ed interesse riguardo gli indubbi benefici che la digital transformation sta apportando (o apporterà nei prossimi anni) alle aziende, c’è in Italia un’oggettiva ed eccessiva focalizzazione prettamente su tematiche di marketing e comunicazione a discapito di quello che, a mio avviso, è il vero cuore di ogni business sano e longevo: il servizio alla clientela e la customer experience correlata. Certo lo sappiamo tutti che il marketing è fondamentale per spingere in maniera molto decisa liquidità ed investimenti su innovazione e creatività e lungi da me il pensare che un buon marketing non sia assolutamente essenziale per acquisire nuovi clienti e per mantenere alto il livello di engagement con i propri utenti (non solo clienti ma anche shareholder, stakeholder, partner commerciali, ecc.), ma quello che mi stupisce è la completa assenza di discussione sul momento successivo alla fase di acquisto, un mondo pieno di opportunità e di rischi che determinano marcatamente la durata del rapporto azienda-cliente. Tutti i principali articoli e post che vengono diffusi in rete sono sempre più orientati a spiegare framework, tecniche, modalità e modelli a supporto dei CMO e degli esperti di marketing per sfruttare pienamente gli strumenti digitali a disposizione.

Eppure il marketing, a pensarci bene, ha un obiettivo molto chiaro: minimizzare le tempistiche del processo che porta il potenziale cliente dalla fase di awareness all’acquisto. Vince chi capisce meglio come catturare l’attenzione, in un mondo dove questa è la principale risorsa scarsa, e come coinvolgere efficacemente e conseguentemente convincere il prospect (e di certo anche qui la l’experience design ha un ruolo fondamentale).

Il servizio alla clientela invece ha un obiettivo a mio avviso molto più sfidante, ossia quello di massimizzare il tempo che intercorre dalla fase di acquisto al possibile abbandono. Un tempo che, proprio perchè deve essere il più lungo possibile, è potenzialmente caratterizzato da un numero impressionante di interazioni che da un lato devono soddisfare la clientela e dall’altro devono essere l’occasione per incrementare la conoscenza della stessa da parte delle aziende.

Qualcuno giustamente potrebbe obiettare: “ma tutto questo è colpa del marketing?”. Ovviamente no (e qui stava il senso provocatorio del titolo). Probabilmente, aldilà di una chiara ed evidente superiorità del marketing nell’attrarre l’attenzione degli esperti di settore, penso che le cause di questo “vuoto” potrebbero ricadere:

  1. nello scarso numero di influencer o esperti nel settore che trattano il tema del customer service,
  2. nell’eccessiva attenzione, tra chi si occupa di customer service, al prodotto/tecnologia a discapito del metodo,
  3. nella difficoltà oggettiva nel disegnare e gestire la customer experience in questo specifico lasso del ciclo di vita del cliente.

3 potenziali cause di una scarsa attenzione verso quel mondo complesso e variegato che è alla base del successo di ogni azienda. Mi piacerebbe quindi che in Italia fossero maggiormente analizzati e sviluppati, tra le altre cose, temi che vertono sul come:

  • intercettare e raccogliere al meglio tutti quei frammenti di informazioni che vengono generati durante le interazioni sui canali digitali,
  • creare dei legami logici strutturati tra i dati provenienti dai canali digitali (comprendendo in particolare i social media) e quelli già presenti in azienda perlopiù legati agli aspetti transazionali (contatti, ordini acquisiti, prezzo medio pagato, fatturazioni, metodi di pagamento utilizzati, modalità di spedizione prescelte, ecc.),
  • definire un modello di profilazione del cliente secondo un’ottica cross-canale allo scopo di avere una vera visione a 360° della relazione con l’azienda,
  • disegnare l’esperienza relazionale di ogni specifica persona per poter identificare i diversi moments of truth sulla base dei quali determinare le principali azioni migliorative (e qui l’integrazione tra canali nuovi e vecchi è un aspetto a dir poco sostanziale),
  • ripensare l’organizzazione e investire sulla formazione continua dei dipendenti al fine di poter rispondere efficacemente e prontamente alle esigenze della propria clientela, qualsiasi sia il percorso multicanale prescelto,
  • ripensare il ruolo del knowledge management in un contesto dove la conoscenza è sempre più spesso dislocata anche al di fuori delle aziende stesse (interessanti alcune proposte sull’argomento da parte di un esperto come Esteban Kolsky),
  • integrare profondamente il momento del contatto/interazione con tutti i processi interni che devono essere attivati per soddisfare l’esigenza del cliente,
  • costruire un sistema di metriche che finalmente porti a correlare le azioni sui diversi canali con i veri risultati di business conseguiti,
  • strutturare un framework di miglioramento continuo che tocchi iterativamente i punti precedenti per riuscire a migliorare dinamicamente l’approccio alla clientela.

Questi sono appunto alcune delle questioni di cui purtroppo vedo parlare poco ma su cui mi piacerebbe ci si soffermasse di più. E voi cosa ne pensate? Sono forse io che mi perdo qualche preziosa fonte di informazioni in giro per la rete o credete anche voi che sia necessario evidenziare questi argomenti mettendoli maggiormente in risalto?

E adesso, uomini del marketing, potete anche sbranarmi :)

A che punto è il Social CRM?

Sono passati ben 4 anni dal famoso articolo di Paul Greenberg che definiva il suo punto di vista sul Social CRM (“Time to Put a Stake in the Ground on Social CRM.”) e dopo tante discussioni, articoli, conferenze, post su blog, report, ecc. il nostro CRM Godfather ha sentito la necessità di mettere giù un nuovo punto di vista su quello che è accaduto in questo periodo (nel bene e nel male). L’ha fatto regalandoci un corposo contributo diviso in 5 parti che trovere sul sito Diginomica, e che vi invito a leggere attentamente per mettere i puntini sulle “i” su cosa sia diventato il CRM oggi insieme a tutte le sue possibili diramazioni.

In questo post voglio solo “riassumervi” i punti e le considerzioni per me più interessanti che definiscono in maniera chiara i prossimi passi del CRM.

Partiamo innanzitutto dall’ultima definizione di CRM lasciataci nell’articolo di 4 anni fa:

CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

Anche oggi Paul stabilisce l’assoluta inutilità di distinguere il CRM tradizionale da quello social. Una verifica su tutte sta nel provare a chiedere ad un qualsiasi professionista del ramo appartenente alla cosiddetta “Generazione Y” se pensa che i canali e l’interattività social faccia o meno parte del CRM. Probabilmente queste persone risponderebbero stupite che non capiscono la domanda visto che i canali sono canali e da che mondo è mondo il CRM “vive” di canali di interazione. Insomma, a fare una domanda del genere si passerebbe un po’ per sprovveduti. Detto questo, nonostante sia vero che ogni canale ha delle peculiarità che lo contraddistinguono, in particolare nella modalità con sui l’interazione avviene attraverso di esso, i canali social, come tutti gli altri del resto, sono di per sè “stupidi e muti” e sono solo gli esseri umani (consumatori/persone o professionisti/persone) che ne determinano il valore percepito decidendo come, quando, quanto e perchè sfruttarli. Il CRM tiene conto di tutti questi aspetti per innescare, gestire, sviluppare la comunicazione, la relazione e la creazione di mutuo valore.

Altro punto di vista molto interessante discusso da Paul è l’esplosione del tema Customer Experience quasi come fosse una sostituzione del CRM e non come principio fondamentale in seno ad esso. Secondo lui ci sono molti motivi che hanno spinto a questo atteggiamento; tra questi c’è la percezione che il CRM sia stata una strategia fallimentare e/o una tecnologia costosa o che sia esclusivamente una applicazione tecnologica e non una strategia aziendale. Tutto questo ha convinto molti a buttare le basi per la creazione di un nuovo “mercato” della Customer Experience Management senza però curarsi del fatto che anche in questo caso potrebbe essere molto alta la probabilità di mostrare gli stessi “difetti”. Alla fine se proporre un’eccezionale Customer Experience alla propria clientela vuol dire avere come obiettivo finale quello di fornire dei benefici ai clienti e all’azienda, secondo voi qual’è l’obiettivo del CRM (domanda retorica)?

Detto questo, Paul dedica comunque una parte consistente agli impatti che la digitalizzazione della comunicazione ha contribuito a dare al business. In particolare trovo significativo il ruolo che questa ha avuto nelle aspettative dei consumatori, lasciando alle aziende il dilemma di come interpretare ed utilizzare gli insight raccolti in maniera significativa per il business. Dilemma che nasce da molteplici difficoltà che le aziende incontrano da un punto di vista culturale, organizzativo e di processo. La soluzione a tutto ciò sembrava essere il nuovo concetto di Social Business nato dalla unione armonica tra Social CRM e Enterprise 2.0 ma anche in questo caso ci ritroviamo in pochissimo tempo a valutare un nuovo stadio di maturità nato da poco sotto l’etichetta di “digital trasformation” che secondo Paul comprende un completo toolkit di pratiche, strategie, strumenti, tecnologie e programmi necessari non solo per tener conto delle divese aspettative della clientela, ma soprattutto per raccogliere gli insight e applicarli adeguatamente in maniera tale da raggiungere efficacemente l’obiettivo di mutuo beneficio cliente-azienda (e la parte customer facing di questo nuovo paradigma torna ad essere il solito CRM).

Ora arriva la parte più “difficile” ma al contempo ricca. Di seguito riporto in originale i 40 punti che per Paul definiscono in dettaglio la sua visione del CRM. Io li ho trovati molto interessanti perciò vi consiglio di leggerli tutti di un fiato (qui o nell’articolo originale poco importa, basta che li leggiate)


1) As I wrote in my welcome letter to CRM Evolution 2013: “The CRM industry continues to mature, thanks largely to the recent revivification of one of CRM’s most time-honored principles—an improved customer experience. As a result, there are new ideas about customer engagement, more ways to get actionable insights about customers, and enhanced methods for gaining measurable business value from these interactions.” This is what the current evolution of CRM looks like in a nutshell. It isn’t being replaced by CEM/CXM. It is just evolving – again. But, Social CRM as a term (not as a concept) has run its course.
2) The transformation that’s sparked the need for Social CRM seems to have occurred in 2004. That transformation has always been a revolution in how we communicate, not a revolution in how we do business per se. All institutions that humans interact with have been affected by mobile devices, social web tools and public social channels and the instant availability of information in an aggregated and organized way that can provide intelligence to the person on the street, not just the enterprise.
3) It also comprises intelligence from the person on the street, which leads to a volume and velocity of data that seems almost beyond human capacity to grasp and act on in a timely way. In reality, the world of big data (we think in zettabytes, 1021, now) is waiting to be conquered with small insights – insights that are gleaned from analyzing not only the data from the enterprise but in conjunction with the data from the street. Much of it is manageable now; the rest of it will be in the not terribly distant future.
4) Thus how we create, distribute and consume information has also undergone a dramatic transformation in the last decade. Witness the well-documented decline of print as a medium for the distribution of news. Witness the rise of the podcast as a form of communication or the sheer scope of YouTube. Or the discussions that take place daily on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or….you get the idea.
5) This allows the more communicative customer to control the conversation, because they communicate in channels the business doesn’t control. But they don’t control the business a.k.a. the company a.k.a. the enterprise itself. What this means is that while customers, to some extent, have greater control over their destinies in how they interact with businesses, make no mistake about it, they don’t run the business, nor does the business have to concede everything to the customer.
6) However, customers want and sometimes demand more control over their experience with and their level of engagement with the companies they do business with. This doesn’t mean constant intensity – it means sculpting the way they do business with the companies they choose to and at the level they choose to do that business. That means it could be intense – or casual – or both over time.
7) It also means that, often, they don’t want to do more than buy whatever it is they want to buy –and do it conveniently. This is still engagement – a utilitarian engagement, but engagement nonetheless. The customer decides their engagement with the company. It is simply the level of ongoing involvement they have with a company.
8) We’ve moved from the primacy of the transaction to the prominence of the interaction with customers, though we haven’t eliminated the transaction – or the data associated with it. Nor would we ever. Nor should we.
9) Also, businesses still need to run their operations. Thus, the company still has to run and needs processes and rules to do that with systems to support it. But it isn’t enough to just do that. They have to set goals that are cognizant of what the customer wants and needs, but not entirely determined by that. They need to map their goals and objectives to the customers’ goals and objectives to make it work for all concerned.
10) There are costs associated with that which businesses have to consider when they are planning for these kinds of things. Increased engagement can mean increased product offerings and service offerings (“can” mean, doesn’t always mean). It can mean tools that the customers are asking for that the business hasn’t provided but needs to. It may mean a better quality and wider variety of consumable experiences – and that all has to be weighed against what the company can actually afford to do.
11)Thus, it is in the interests of the company to encourage the customer to decide and to do what they can to increase the level of engagement – and then find out what that is. The more engaged the customer, the more likely they are to be loyal customers – repeat purchasers – and the better the chances they have to become advocates. But any ongoing involvement is better than none, unless it is entirely negative. J
12) The lesson for business, in terms of Social CRM is that we are now at a point that the customers’ expectations are so great and their demands so emboldened that our CRM-related business strategy should be built around employee empowerment and customer engagement, not traditional operational customer management. That isn’t wrong, just insufficient. Though we can’t reduce the importance of keeping the operational aspects of CRM front and center.
13) When the discussion on Social CRM (SCRM) began, we IDed it as an extension of CRM, not a replacement for CRM and that has turned out to be exactly what it was. While it adds to the features, functions and characteristics of CRM but it is still based on the time honored principle that a business needs its customers and prefers them profitable and that same business needs to run itself effectively too. CRM or SCRM, it is still a business science.
14) What made it so different from its traditional roots was that the customer had changed and that the customers were expecting and even demanding different things than they had in the past from business and thus, businesses had to respond. Social CRM was the response to this transformed customer.
15) When I wrote, “Stake in the Ground,” I noted: “part of that transformation affects how we trust and thus who we trust. Since 2004, “someone like me” is the most trusted source, not businesses, NGOs, government agencies or corporate leaders. That means that peer trust is how influence and impact germinates and then propagates most effectively – at least as of now.” The most recent Edelman Trust Barometer has reinforced this, which has “a person like me” as most trusted by 61%.
16) In addition to trusting the company and being trusted by the company, customers also want to have a personalized (not personal per se) experience with the company.
17) They also want to get enough information from the company to make intelligent decisions on how they want to deal with the company.
18) That means that transparency and authenticity become more than buzzwords because in order for the customer to make intelligent decisions on how they are going to interact with the company and the level of that interaction, they need that visibility and honesty from the company. Getting that is likely to increase the level of trust.
19) That also means that the companies need to make the decision that it’s a good thing to allow the customer to have that increased level of knowledge, access and honesty – it can help the company immensely in their engagements with their customers. That’s a cultural issue that has to be resolved for Social CRM to work.
20) If these aforementioned conditions are met, the customer is afforded the ability to co-create by the company. What that means is not all that pat. It can mean anything from customers and the company collaborating on product development, to customer suggestions on how to improve a company process, to customers helping other customers solve customer service issues, to even doing what gamers do and modifying game play using tools for scenario creation which adds value to the game. Co-creation is the ability of the company and customer to create additional value for each other – what form it takes is not always THE BIG THING. But co-creation, mutually derived value, is at the core of CRM in 2013 and beyond.
21) But keep in mind, the first step to co-creation is getting the customer engaged at any level – which is not so easy. Any one company doesn’t consume the customer’s entire life. Consequently, given all the things that are going on in the person’s a.k.a. customer’s life, the competition for the just getting the attention of that customer is a big deal; especially since each of us is bombarded with 3000 messages a day (that would be over 1 million a year). Getting that person’s attention means competing with all those messages, related or not. The game has changed.
22) On the other hand, the company, while trying to deal with that, is also trying to run in a changed world, which places a high value on rapid response. The clichéd term for it is “nimbleness.”
23) The company also has to do the time honored thing that they exist to do: deliver the goods and services that they sell in a satisfactory way. Which means timely for the most part.
24) The problem the company has is that it isn’t just the company alone that has to work in sync to provide that rapid response and successful delivery. It has an extended enterprise value chain that consists of itself, its employees, its suppliers/vendors, its channel partners, external agencies, etc.
25) While there is an extended enterprise value chain, the customer also has a separate “personal value chain” which incorporate the company in question, the family of the customer, the friends and acquaintances of the customer, other companies and non business institutions that the customer might be involved with any given moment.
26) This personal value chain impacts the customer’s decisions and affects the interactions of the customer with the company. Just imagine what you would think of six seconds of latency after hitting a purchase button in a shopping cart transaction if you were a. okay or b. highly irritated at someone or something that had nothing to do with the transaction. If it were a., six seconds would be mildly annoying but the transaction would go through; if it were b. you’d abandon the shopping cart. That’s what I mean when I say personal value chain affects the interaction with the company.
27) For the company to succeed, since they cannot control the personal value chain of the customer, nor should they want to, they can only provide what the customer needs to satisfy that part of the customer’s personal agenda that is associated with their enterprise. On the biggest scale, that means products, services, tools and experiences that allow the customer a hopefully satisfying set of interactions. On the smallest scale, given the example in #26, it means fix the latency. Don’t worry about what personal reason caused the customer to abandon the shopping cart. You’ll never know.
28) The intersection of the extended enterprise value chain and the customer’s use of part of his personal value chain to satisfy that personal agenda creates the possibility for a collaborative value chain that engages the customer in the activities of the business sufficiently to provide each (the company and the customer) with what they need from the other to derive individual and mutually beneficial value in a continuous way.
29) Once the limitations of how involved a customer is going to be are recognized (personal value chain/x time J), then what the customer expects has to be understood.
30) Despite popular belief and marketing b.s., customers aren’t looking to be delighted all the time. They are looking to accomplish whatever it is they expect to accomplish with the company – which could be as simple as getting an address – or a quick purchase online.
31) If that’s the case, then the most important thing you can do for the customer is keep the ordinary, ordinary. That means make sure that the 90% of all inquiries that are just inquiries that carry the expectation of completion, are taken care of via phone, email, web self-service, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The other 10% is the resolution of complaints or the actions that lead to customer delight via the same channels.
32) In order to do all this, as always, we have to consider the strategies and the programs that increase an individualized customer engagement, and those processes, systems, and technologies that support it. Automating what we can of the ordinary (among other things) will actually enhance personalization because it gives the time to focus on giving customers what they need to support an experience that makes customers want to return at a minimum and even better; participate.
33) CRM applications, unlike four years ago, all incorporate social multiple components that extend the value of the applications beyond the operational and transactional. On the largest scale with the major technology companies that means the incorporation of social channels such as Twitter and Facebook for both communications interaction and data acquisition. It means the integration of traditional systems of record which supports the data with systems of engagement (e.g. gamification) which supports the interactions.
34) Under the newest evolution of CRM, rather than aiming at a satisfied customer (an increasingly useless metric) and even rather than thinking that a loyal customer is your best customer, your objective should be to create business advocates and settle for evangelists and loyal customers. A business advocate, unlike a brand evangelist, doesn’t just market, s/he helps you sell. See what Karmaloop does with its Rep Teams.
35) In order to get customers as business advocates, the customer needs to feel that they have a beneficial relationship with the company, one where several conditions are met:
a) The customer feels that the company is responsive to him/her. That means that the customer feels (and I do mean “feels”) that the company is “a company like me.”
b) There needs to be a “commonwealth of self-interest” in place. This means that given the identified (not guessed at) needs of the customers after the necessary research has been done and the feedback analyzed, there is a group of tools, products, services and consumable experiences that are meeting the perceived personalized needs of the individual customers. This is the base condition for the development of business advocates. The idea of a commonwealth of self-interest operates from the principal that all human beings are self interested (not selfish) and need to have that self-interest recognized by feeling valued as individuals. Businesses can’t provide individual products, services, tools or consumable experiences, but they can provide a set of each of those that satisfies much of the personal requirements needed to fulfill the self-interest of the individuals engaged wit them. Some customers will fall away, but the majority will perceive this as being valued if it’s done right. See the way that Dialog Axiata, the Sri Lankan telco does what they do every day around customer experience and you’ll get the idea.
c) The customer derives some tangible value from their advocacy but its premise is to not just provide tangible value, which is the secondary aspect, but to make the customer feel valued. Tangible value without context is no guarantee of creating or sustaining a customer business advocate.
d) The customer gets social reinforcement for their advocacy via communications with the company and other customers. The communications need to rise to the level of a “responsive dialog.” Not slow and serial.
36) Because there is accountability and some way is needed to identify successful or failed execution and to identify value, measurement is necessary. Many of the historic measures, like customer lifetime value (CLV) are still entirely appropriate. Many of the KPIs, for example, first call resolution are morphing (e.g. first contact resolution to allow for the multiple channels the customer might choose to start their efforts. Measurement, while still a work in progress, is beginning to show some results. Rather than just CLV – which reflects the direct financial value of a customer to a company over the life of his relationship to that company, start to think about Dr. V. Kumar’s Customer Referral Value (CRV) which measures how valuable influential customers are when they tell others about your company, not just promise to. Oracle has embedded CRV into some of their CRM focused applications.
37) The technology has been transformed as well. Besides the integration of social channels, these new wave technologies take advantage of that integration (e.g. social marketing; Twitter-based customer service applications that have the associated bidirectional communications and analytics on the back end; sales optimization applications that incorporate sales specific social intelligence). The larger software houses –, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle all have a wide array of “social tools” that are fully integrated into their offerings and in fact are increasingly providing the “experiential” tools such as customer feedback systems, ranking and ratings systems; customer analytics; etc. that are being asked for. There are community platforms that integrate with CRM primarily at the level of systems of record. We are seeing systems of engagement especially gamification becoming a regular part of the offerings of technology companies.
38) Coupled with that we are seeing emerging technology companies that are highly specialized that can provide either vertically specific applications or deeper capabilities e.g. meaning relationship extraction among many other things. (for a good look at those check out the CRM Idol contestant pages and you’ll see what I mean in two minutes of looking)
39) This is a complex, but relatively mature market that rapidly responds to the demands of the data out there, the communications necessary and the results looked for.
40) All of these things lead me to think that it’s time to drop the “S” from SCRM and just call it CRM again. Social is mainstream, CRM is a successful market and despite some contrary beliefs, works. The applications are mature and varied, meeting many to most needs, the systems are effective, the philosophies, strategies and programs are viable, with some best practices to pave the way, when appropriate. The professionals are there to do the jobs, even as the jobs morph. And human beings, with all their ingenuity, are able to meet the challenges that are posed as things rapidly change and as information becomes quickly available. So, don’t worry. It’s okay to drop that S. It really is.

Finally, vi lascio con la nuova definizione che Paul Greenberg da del CRM:

CRM is a business science with a defined philosophy and a set of strategies and programs, supported by systems and technologies, designed to improve human interactions in a business environment. Its purpose and its value are to make the customer’s experience with the company good enough to provide a mutually beneficial outcome over time, even as expectations change.

E come dice lui, il CRM è oramai diventato una matura “business science” che possiede un corpo di conoscenze e pratiche che lo rendono indispensabile oramai alle operations e alle interazioni con la proprio clientela. E tutto questo consentendo alle aziende di comprendere a fondo gli aspetti operativi e transazionali necessari per anticipare i comportamenti umani individuali che permettono di ottenere risultati di business desiderati, e ai clienti di decidere autonomamente, sulla base delle informazioni fornite dalle aziende e da terze parti, su come costruire una genuina e profittevole relazione con esse.