Social CRM has become a very popular topic over the last couple of years. It started with what I like to call the rim dwellers, people who spend their time watching all the innovations brought to Internet and figuring out what they'll mean for everybody once they become mainstream. For the record rim dwellers isn't a derogatory term, more a description of what I do most of the time.
Recently it became very Key Word friendly. Adding Social CRM to any post almost guaranteed immediate interest. Even more recently the consultants and sales trainers picked up on it. Now we see something about Social CRM everywhere we look.
But the reality has disappointed when compared with the promise, for me at least, and until yesterday. The problem has always been the wide spread of Social - the number of sites needing to be monitored if we're to catch that all important connection.
New software services have emerged to help aggregate feeds from all those sources and bring the important stuff to us. For me it started with Gist - because of the iPhone app - but the output never really made much sense. It was mostly RSS and Twitter feeds I could get a number of other places.
Recently Gmail included the Rapportive plugin quickly followed by the Gist plugin. I have both running on my Gmail courtesy of Google Apps. In the sidebar of any message Rapportive offers me what it knows about the email address messages come from. At the foot of the message Gist gives me everything it knows about the sender.
This is really cool. But it's never made any real difference to what I do, until yesterday.
We had notice from our Front Office Box app about a new registration. When I copied the address into a welcoming message Gist exploded with the social footprint of the owner.
For me yesterday was when Social CRM ceased to be an idea talked about by consultants and became a genuine business resource. I'm now a fully fledged, died in the wool, believer.
Unfortunately, a big slice of our business works with the public sector, or close and those people aren't in to Social yet. That's a pain in the rear, because now I've seen the promised land I want everybody connected to it.