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

Intervento su Customer Management Insights

Ringrazio Elisa Fontana di CEO di C-Direct Consulting Srl per avermi chiesto un contributo al suo nuovo articolo pubblicato qualche giorno fa nel numero di aprile della rivista Customer Management Insights. Il tema è il Social CRM e vi invito a leggere l’articolo e a dare un’occhiata anche al resto della rivista dove troverete interessanti spunti legati al mondo del CRM e alle sue evoluzioni.


My personal Social CRM expectations for 2013

We are at the end of this year and as usual you can read lots of articles about predictions and trends for next 2013 about whatever you want, and Social CRM is not except.

Here, more than predictions, I’d like to list my personal expectations for the next year; a short set of strategic/operations/tech events I’d like to see coming true to boost Social CRM strategies implementations.

Social media as commodities – they are more and more seen as new channels to be integrated with others (phone, email, chat, etc.) even if their own pecularities have to be considered carefully cause of potential pitfalls related to their misuse (a perception gap resulting from a bad accordance between customers and companies expectations is a classic dangerous outcome).

Communities as Social CRM basis – real Social CRM success cases will come mainly from generation and/or nurturing of specific p2p communities. It’ll obviously depend on industry but B2C and B2B sectors will gain more and more value considering people contribution to the business in marketing, branding, service and innovation areas.

Customer Experience as a new focal point – service design concepts and techniques will be increasingly utilized especially to analyze customer journey and understand customer experience through moments of truth and pain points; and these activities will be the fundamental steps to re-think and re-design your customer-centric strategies.

Internal and External integration – I’d like to see a progressive effort to improve integration between internal collaboration projects with external ones to link and correlate more dinamically and fluently operational processes with customer-centric objectives

Big data will simply become data – it depends on how companies will open their “eyes”, or better “ears”, to take information coming from various sources. More openness more data but, once you get them, I’d like to see expertise in the company to extract sense from them and, more valuable, to nurture analytical approach so you can allocate right information in each organizational level to help people doing their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Mobile is here to stay – nothing to say cause I’d like not to listen about Mobile potential opportunities anymore. It’s “a fact” not a “nice to have” and you need to consider it not simply as a new touchpoint to integrate in multi-channel offering but also as a new interaction model with its own pecularities.

Merger & Acquisition won’t stop tomorrow – yes, the market will keep on moving and won’t stop in 2013 for sure. Consolidation is mandatory when you have so many granular and different features concurring to a Social CRM functional enablement, and big CRM players knows that very well.

What do you think? Do you want to extend the list wtih more expectations?

Meanwhile I wish you a Merry Christmas and/or Happy New Year and see you on 2013

The importance of a real customer understanding for (Social) CRM

How many times have we read about Social CRM stuff and on the importance of creating an engagement environment correctly supported by technology along the main customer-facing perspectives (Marketing, Sales, Service and – last added – Innovation)?

Maybe too much and also this blog, I admit, committed this sin. Now we have more case studies to show and tell to enhance the intrinsic benefits of a Social CRM approach in business but we have also noticed the potential pitfalls of a new CRM “failure” due to tech stuff predomination on business strategy and analysis.

Maybe there is a lack of structured framework to support a social business model or maybe it won’t ever be and we’ll see an everlasting battle between strategy, organization, process and technology business components.

In this situation what I think is becoming more and more important for organizations, to understand the real drivers for the change, is a real understanding of their customers. And what you need to understand them? Tipically:

  • quantitative analysis of customer behaviour through “transactional” measurements that track the way they interact with your business landscape
  • qualitative analysis of customer thinking through a wise mix of human and automatic analysis of content produced during formal (i.e. VoC, speech analysis or survey outputs) and informal (free opinions expressed on social media) interactions

While the quantification of customer behaviours is quite a normal output for structured organizations which use descriptive and predictive analysis on data coming from customer/prospect databases where all their lifecycles’ information – produced by legacy and CRM platforms – are archived, the second task is just at the beginning of a hard path to walk even if it’s the “dark side of the customer moon” which we need to know to have a complete and 360° comprehension of the people that exchange values with your companies. And it’s a hard task first of all because we are just beginning to handle big data from social communication platforms (private or public) but, mainly, cause we’re not well prepared to extract sense and meanings from them.

The biggest challenge, in fact, is to map coherently your customers journey in order to formalize collected data and help you to get through the information-insight-knowledge funnel where:

  • information –> data are re-organized in order to be intelligible
  • insight –> pieces of information are correlated to specific entities (the analysis linchpins) gaining meaning
  • knowledge –> meaning elements become the leverages which support action and change

So, typical output from this kind of activities can support your organizations to decline operationally your social business strategy identifying:

Process –> how are you serving your customers? where do you excel? where do you need to re-design processes with a more customer-centric perspective?

Organization –> where do you have to create osmosis between silos to make easier and fluent the knowledge exchange? do you need to re-think you internal structure to help your resources with their job-to-be-done?

Technology –> which are the essential features mandatory to support the organization and its ecosystem to reach their objectives of mutual benefits?

Not easy at all, but now it’s really time to help analysts with their “comprehension” task and the only way you can support them with a scalable solution in a world of big data (big volumes, high velocity and extreme variety) is investing in semantic tool capabilities (I’m not talking about sentiment with it’s accuracy problems) which can filter and categorize entities, concepts and their correlations in order to give more “sense” to your informative assets.

What do you think? Must these new features be one of the foremost area where you need to invest?