Customer Service Vs. Social CRM?

JustinFlitter
Justin Flitter Social Media Manager, Flitter Ltd

Posted on July 28th 2009

A friend asked me yesterday what the differences were between different Customer Service, CRM and Social CRM

Customer Service Vs CRM

Customer Service is the interaction between a customer and the company, usually via traditional channels like phone or email. Usually the customer will have an issue or some sort of request that needs resolving.  The person could be a prospective or current customer.

CRM is the strategic process implemented to maintain and retain the customer long term.  This relationship development process is designed to improve customer retention rates, thus reducing churn, increasing profitability and reducing the need to focus so heavily on new business for revenue growth.

Customer Service via Social Media Vs Social CRM

Customer Service delivered through Twitter or Facebook or any other socmed platform is essentially the same as a call or an email except that the interaction is public. The idea is your customers are talking about you whether you like it or not. You can chose to ignore and plod away while your competition has listened, reacted and claimed your customer. Or you can be where your customers are and enable them to engage with you how they want to.

On one side Social Media can act as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff catching people with service failures before they actually jump ship. Many time we see tweets like “On the phone with xyz company, totally useless, spent hours on the phone, FAILED”. But with out Social media companies would not have this opportunity to save the day.

On the other hand Social media could be used as a first line of defense. Catching people making comments before they contact the call center or before the issue escalates beyond repair.

Social CRM in my mind is about customer retention in an environment that the customer feels comfortable in. Social CRM is also about issue prevention or issue intervention before the issue is escalated so it has a duel purpose.

So to sum up I feel Customer service interactions are those support opportunities to solve a customers problem. Social CRM is about nurturing enduring customer relationships within social platforms where the customer feels comfortable communicating and interacting with you.

Customer Service is about NOW. Social CRM is about the future.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this correct or do you have a different take on it?

JustinFlitter

Justin Flitter

Social Media Manager, Flitter Ltd

Justin shares stories, information and advice on Customer Service and Social Media for Business. Justin is based in Auckland, New Zealand and has almost 10 years experience in the Customer Service industry. Justin is the Social Media Manager for Zendesk.com
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Comments

scorpfromhell
Posted on July 28th 2009 at 2:33PM
Good post Justin. Guess our thoughts would differ only wrt the differences you put forth - not with what is customer service's place in the universe, but the way you place it in relation to CRM & social CRM.

For me customer service is one of the functions under the purview of CRM, others being sales & marketing. CRM is the common superset that was supposed to breakdown the silos, but failed, for most who tried.

Social CRM is again only a superset of traditional CRM, not a replacement or add-on. Thus customer service is again integral to social CRM too, as it is for traditional CRM.

Social CRM is the way businesses use social media & social networks (social technologies if you will) to respond to the control that the customers now wield over the conversations.

In an ideal world one would not require customer service, since that function exists primarily to address the failed brand promises or mismatched customer expectations & business offerings.

But as long as businesses do not match their offerings to customers job needs &/or deliver on their brand promises, there will be need for customer service. I do not see it going away anytime soon, though I would like it to go away ASAP.

Social media is a channel for communicating with the customers & if it is used to provide customer service, for me, that is part of social CRM functions.

You would want to look at the definition of social CRM as is getting accepted by the industry out here - http://bit.ly/mYsc5 & here - http://bit.ly/EEISS

Finally, please do join us on the #scrm channel on Twitter to further discuss about social CRM. :)

Regards,

Prem (@Prem_K)


JustinFlitter
Posted on July 28th 2009 at 7:43PM
These are some great comments and all are valid.

Prem. I love your comment about wanting customer service to go away. Unfortunately there will always be customers with whom our brand does not quiet deliver or whom something goes wrong. There will always be a need to support your customers before, during and after their purchase.

I agree that Social CRM is a subset of CRM.

Kathy make s a great point "Customer Service plays as much role in customer nurturing and retention as sales and marketing or account management activities."

Is Customer Service and Social CRM the NEW Marketing?

yadutekale
Posted on July 29th 2009 at 5:41PM
interesting article and comments.

 

i do not see any great difference between CRM and SCRM except a label change. in fact i think the need to rebrand is more a reflection of the young age of the industry than anything else.

 my views are not too dissimilar from Graham's comments (2nd response in http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452eab969e2011570d264fd...)


SCRM uses social technology to enable businesses reach out to customers. so what exactly has changed?

customers were still talking to one another and influencing one another's purchasing decisions (through user groups or otherwise) and/or business behaviour before the advent of social technology. the arrival of social technology has lubricated this process and has had a multiplier effect on consumers' ability to change business behaviour. all that social technology has done is to aggregate consumer behaviour and empowered consumers to have a two way dialogue with businesses (if said businesses engaged in it).

that doesnt mean i think SCRM is irrelevant ( i think the label is, but its here to stay).  businesses (some of them) now  have to be more responsive towards aggregate behaviour. business has also got yet another tool from which to extract behavioural data and then strategize and deliver. 

there seems to be an underlying message in most blogs/posts on SCRM, that with the advent of social technology, the consumer is king and has extraordinary power over business. I disagree with such notions. If anything, social technology has made irrelevant the individual consumer because of its aggregating nature

I agree with Kathy that customer servive exists not just to remedy a failed expectation. Customer service also exists to re-inforce a positve message, a perpetuation of a desired brand experience. No customer service is not a state to achieve for business.

 

and lastly for me atleast, SCRM =  old wine but in a user friendly bottle.


 http://yadut.blogspot.com/2009/07/scrm-vs-crm.html