Is your company ready for Social CRM?

27 Feb,2017


By PrabhakarMundkur


Take what happened to one of my friends last week. A very reputed retail chain owned by one of the most trusted companies in the country let him down very badly. A washing machine he had bought last year and was still under warranty let him down. Unfortunately my friend had opted to buy the own store brand of the retail chain rather than a LG or a Samsung or some other more reputed make. The washing machine stopped working suddenly. There has been no response from this well known retailer for over a week and finally my friends name was struck off the complaints list without his even knowing it. He then had to go through the trouble of re-registering his complaint in which he lost another seven days.


He decided to complain about his experience on social media since he thought it might be at least mildly embarrassing. To their credit their Twitter handle started conversing with him almost within five minutes. The very next day the Hyderabad call centre of the retain chain called my friend and began to make at least some amends for the neglect shown to him by Customer Service. His case however still remained unresolved. The mechanic attending the complaint said that if my friend went back to the store where the washing machine was purchased from, he would have a replacement with a new machine. But when my friend reached the store all he heard was an ugly altercation between the Customer Service Representative and the Mechanic where the Customer Service executive fired the Mechanic for making false promises of product replacement to the customer. He went on twitter again to update the latest status on his case and the company’s Twitter handle once again promised to get the case resolved at the earliest. In the meantime my friend is biting his nails on what is going to happen to his washing machine.

While in many ways social media has become the new face of Customer Service(because traditional Customer Service is completely out of touch with customers ) the above case is a sure sign that the biggest brands in the country need to do a better job of their Social CRM. In a way Social CRM takes over where traditional CRM left off. Unfortunately traditional CRM still operates on a 9am to 5pm basis and they wouldn’t care a hoot what happens to customers once they leave their office. Social CRM on the other hand is 24×7. Because customers may need help at any time of day or night.


What is Social CRM?

But first of all let’s start by defining Social CRM. Social CRM (customer relationship management) is a phrase used to describe the addition of a social element in traditional CRM processes. Social CRM builds upon CRM by leveraging a social element that enables a business to connect customer conversations and relationships from social networking sites in to the CRM process. Social CRM may also be called CRM 2.0 or abbreviated as SCRM (social customer relationship management).


Social CRM takes over where CRM left off

People under 35 spend almost four hours on social media, and more of that time is being spent engaging with brands. One piece of research has shown that the volume of tweets targeted at brands and their Twitter service handles, for example, has grown 2.5x in the past two years. Similarly, the percentage of people who have used Twitter for customer service leapt nearly 70%, over a two year period. McKinsey’s analysis shows that 30% of social media users prefer social care to phoning customer service.



The most successful social media interactions are personal, genuine, and relevant. To scale that connectivity requires integrating social media data into your CRM system.


You could be forgiven for treating the idea of “social CRM” with a certain amount of scepticism. It just sounds like a buzz word. Also it is sometimes hard to distinguish the hype around social media from the genuine value it can bring. But social CRM isn’t a gimmick, and it doesn’t ask you to “forget everything you know” or “reinvent your business”.


Social CRM simply adds a social dimension to the way you think about customers and your relationships with them.


Given the current state of customer service, Social CRM would be an important weapon in the armoury of brands that have large number of customers. Its not enough to just have a twitter handle or a Facebook page. That doesn’t complete your Customer Service or your Social CRM.


Why is Social CRM important?

It’s a familiar story. Marketing departments are diligently creating and publishing tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos, carefully crafted to make the most of each channel and designed to encourage sharing, retweeting and customer engagement. But the audience doesn’t come.


Meanwhile, your customers are elsewhere on Facebook and Twitter, having conversations about your organisation – discussing you, recommending you, complaining about you and even trying desperately to talk to you. But they’re not getting the answers they want.


Social CRM bridges the gap. No more forcing customers to use the channel you prefer. No more losing track of issues when they change channels. You can engage and respond to customers individually and in the way they choose.


With Social CRM you can place your customer right at the heart of your organisation.


Veteran adman Prabhakar Mundkur is currently Chief Mentor at HGS Interactive


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