What is Social CRM?

Lots of people are talking about Social CRM, and almost everyone has their own definition. I really don’t want invent yet another definition, but I do think that even the best definitions need a little explanation.

I’ve been using Paul Greenberg’s definition, which I discovered via Jeremiah Owyang which defines Social CRM as:

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.

OK, that’s great, but what does that mean in practice? Here’s how I explain it:

Customer interaction with a company has typically been through CRM systems and customer services departments

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Customer forums are often completely detached from CRM/customer service, if they exist at all:

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To some companies, “Social CRM” is simply enabling better interfaction between customer service and the rest of the company, without any direct benefit to the customer:

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To others, it means getting customer service to participate in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter:

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But to me, Social CRM means integrating all of these to enable better communication between customers, customer service and other company employees, whatever channel is used:

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