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Social CRM - shifting from 'command control' attutide to 'sense and respond' behavior (Part 2 of 2)

The analogy of the command-and-control and sense-and-respond helps me to connect with the style of management/practices and see the evolution of social CRM in that context. There are emerging discussions about the enterprises that are managing the business in 'sense-and-respond' approach and my post here is somewhat aligns to that thought process. There is a very good post here for those of you who are interested in further venturing into it. Coming back to the topic, let me now drive through the key difference that 'sense and respond' paradigm brings into social CRM.
  1. Need of a Network centric customer management - 'digital customer networks' is relatively a new phenomenon for the businesses to deal with, both from strategy as well as operations perspective. So far, customer were a segment, a logical entity, a cluster. But now, network of customers itself is an entity that has slightly different rules of the game. To deal with the complexity of the customer network dynamics, enterprises need to create integrated response (across marketing, service and product design departments as well as with partners) to be able to offer greater and sustainable customer experience - collaboration needs are paramount.
  2. Shared situation awareness - I anticipate that customer networks and multiple social identities of customers are going to make it slightly complex to get consistent, accurate and meaningful customer insight. To fight it out, enterprises will need to develop the capability of shared situation awareness about the customer (instead of silos and compartmentalized awareness) across different stakeholder departments inside the enterprise as well as across the partners who might be engaging with the customer at different point in time and for different purposes.  Further, enterprises will need to acquire predictive capabilities based on the patterns of the customer behavior history (instead of reactive customer relationship). Shared situation awareness will help the enterprise to be on top of the customer dynamics and deal with it effectively.
  3. Agility to reorganize the enterprise practices - Dynamically evolving market place situation makes the conventional regularized practices a barrier because it were designed for more static kind of problems/scenarios. If enterprises hang onto those practices and try to respond to dynamically changing market place today, effort is likely to be futile. So sense-and-respond approach helps here by creating the capability in the enterprise to quickly re-organize its practices to respond to an evolving situation.
  4. Personalized Context based customer engagement - mass oriented and one-size-fit-all approach doesn't work anymore to connect to consumer community. Invisible faceless customers do not exist anymore. There is a strong need for sensing the personalized needs/preferences of the customer and further responding with contextual propositions. I came across this interesting case study of Philadelphia Flyers about their intense customer context focus; (well-articulated by Paul Greenberg here). The way Philadelphia Flyers have gone about recognizing the need to personalize their engagements with the fans, individualized financing options during recession period and "single view of the fan" concept and culture, it clearly shows the strength of deepening the customer context when it comes to social CRM.
  5. Strength of the information position - multitudes of social channels, social identities and social customers are going to cause information overload for the enterprises. Managing the strength of the information becomes critical to compete given that everyone is going to have the great deal of information available. Strength will mean accuracy, relevance and currency of the information that can help enterprises to create precise view of the customer's social footprint. This will be instrumental in creating the shared situation awareness about the customer that I talked about earlier.
  6. Shift needed from 'controlling' to 'managing'  the customer relationships -  today social customer engagement patterns require enterprises to move away from transaction managed relationship to continuously situation aware (engaged) and high-quality experience driven customer relationships. Digital networks and new age technologies are highly capable of accomplishing it. Customer experience becomes paramount focus and must-have attitude of the organizations because the new generation of social customers just doesn't want engagements dominated by such transactions that reflect the urge to control the customer response or that hard-orchestrate the boundaries of the customer engagements.
  7. Shift needed from 'process efficiency' to 'customer value and engagement effectiveness' - In last two decades most of the CRM investment went into process automation, system integration and unified information management of the customer. Moving forward, focus has to be shifted to direct customer value creation processes. Customer experience across various engagement touch points is going to be one such important value creation process in CRM.  Increasingly, customer loyalty will shift from brand wagon to spectrum of opportunities that offer newer/better customer experiences. Recent examples of this shift are Apple-Ford 'Customer for life' program that offers care free customer service, Stella Artois Le Bar Guide that mixes augmented reality for customers to provide unique experience of browsing, promotion etc. (this is really good one, check it out), 'Imagination' Disney store that provides immersive shopping experience, Puma in-store co-creation platform enabled by iPADs (another cool example) and another one in my list is the coca cola village that has integrated facebook application activity with real-life RFID devices. 

To sum it up -  a shift from mission-centric strategies ( that are inward focused, just sales number driven) to value-system centric strategies (that are outward focused, customer loyalty driven) is on the card.

Bottom-line : Social software is just an excuse and is fairly incidental; social CRM offers much bigger opportunity to transform the culture of the customer relationship management when organization sheds 'command and control' model and embraces the 'sense-and-respond' model.

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