Stumbled upon an interesting blog post the other day on Software Advice.
After a sit down with Brian Solis, a rather careful consideration of some Razorfish studies and some common sense observations about how the interactions between companies and customers have changed over the years (first of all because of the internet and lately, because of social media & mobile devices), Lauren Carlson points her story at the 6 Rules of Engagement, or what we can basically call the Solis definition of engagement, as the next level of relationships between companies and customers.
According to this, consumers in the Egosystem want value, efficiency, trust, consistency, relevancy and control from the companies they interact with. And if this is what the customer wants, then that’s what most socially aware companies will try to give them.
But that’s only part of the problem, solved. Because after figuring out what the customer wants and what to give him, the next step – equally important, I might add – is to find out the best way to deliver all these things. Most companies that realize the importance of reaching their customers through social media already have the usual channels at their disposal. They will have a Facebook page or a Twitter account in play, only there’s more to Social CRM strategies than business pages on these websites.
The Satisfaction – Engagement Loop
In order to properly engage the customers, companies have to consider two things: first of all, the technological side – the platform that actually supports the engagement – and then the cultural climate of the organization itself, which has to be the actual resource of the engagement. As long as the people behind the company understand and relate to the cultural obsession towards the customer, then things are bound to move in the right… engaging direction. The only thing that remains is now to properly close the circle and provide the users inside the organization with the proper technological tools to keep the customers satisfied. But how?
Integrating Companies with Social Media. Or the other way around.
Now, after understanding the Satisfaction – Engagement Loop, there’s two ways companies handle the social appeal to customers. There are those who look at their business and then start acting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube or LinkedIn, and there are those who first of all develop a Social CRM and then try to connect with the customer through social media platforms.
What we have found out developing the Clintelica Network CRM application though, is that Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Youtube or LinkedIn are all amazing in themselves, but they are also distinct communities where not only the the way of engagement differs, but also the response of the customer (if any) is different.
So, in order to properly engage an organization with it’s customers (especially when we’re talking about 100+ employees, hundreds or thousands of customers and suppliers), you need to have a powerful CRM system that works in a perfect, traditional way, offers features that enable you to manage & understand huge amounts of information (Newsfeed), and then gives you the the opportunity to use Social Media to reach the connected customer, keeping him satisfied through Networking and understanding his Feedback instantly.
OK, boundaries are changing every minute, mobile gadgets are becoming socially acceptable in Theaters and probably tomorrow reading Zite stories on your iPad in a face-to-face meeting will not be considered rude anymore. But in order for the customer engagement to be meaningful, it’s becoming more and more clear that social media platforms should be the tool and not the purpose.
Faith is a wonderful thing.
And even though you know about it because your parents teach you about it or because some teacher invested some time in you or simply because you love George Michael, it never ceases to amaze me how having faith in one’s employees affects CRM and customer satisfaction.
Today I had to throw out about 30 tires, previously used for safely docking boats (I have yet to buy 7 cars) and I found myself in the unpleasant position of having loaded them into a rented truck with nowhere to take them. After trying unsuccessfully at a couple garbage disposal companies, I had a “Check out the big brain on Brett!” moment and I decided to try a… tire shop. Mercifully, the guy behind the counter, Jonas at Saltjobadens Dack & Bilservice (that’s in Sweden), said he’d take them in at no cost. He made a split second, honest, sincere & altruistic decision to help me out when I was in need and, as a result, won me as a customer for the rest of my days, so help me God. Of course, I felt obliged to offer him a bottle of Whiskey in return, but the fact remains: as things stand today, I never intend to change my winter/summer tires anywhere else.
Of course, this led me to think (surprisingly, this time that didn’t turn out badly) that this kind of client satisfaction is something all companies should work for. I suddenly remembered some examples I’ve heard on the subject, over time.
I believe when empowered with taking decisions, most employees will take the right one. Of course, there’s a huge discussion looming over this subject, but bare with me for these stories (some are famous).