Loving Your Customers: Social CRM is Making It Actually Happen!
by Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

Without customers there isn’t a business. Yet companies often operate like the customer isn’t a priority. In comes social media and changes everything. How a company treats customers is no longer behind the wall. It used to be just between the customer and the company, whether the interaction channel was email or a call… But now, companies behaving badly, can’t hide behind the wall. Social media is outing them.

What is great is that the customer’s voice is now heard; echoed in fact from the bowels of Twitter to the tips of Facebook and more. What’s sad — at least to me — is that it took “outside in” technology to drive change.

I used to be a systems integrator, giving advice on how company’s should treat customers. You know, the technology they should buy to make great experiences- for employees and customers… What processes to change that make more sense and how to treat people.

It felt like a large boulder, being pushed up a steep mountain. Change was difficult, resisted and well down right mind boggling. You’d think if you could help a company be more customer-centric, they’d realize they could be more profitable. Message often not received.

“Outside in” technology, meaning social media, which gives the customer the voice, is driving change. Change that has long been needed. Ask any room full of people- I do when I speak – and they will tell you for the most part they down right hate Customer Service.

Many companies are now doing the right thing, but its taken a Witness Factor to get them to change. That Witness is the ears and eyes of millions of people who see what people say about companies in social media. Like cave painting on walls that last forever, reviews, comments, ratings… are plastered all over the internet. And customers read them and make decisions to buy or not based more on peer reviews than PR and Advertising.

So what is social CRM? What is our topic at Social Media Club LA about? It’s about this transformation of business to a more conscious, kind and present way of being and interacting in the world. It’s real-time and its authentic (meaning you don’t speak in social media channels like a scrubbed and pruned corporate press release- you use you real voice- like a human being).

source: http://mashable.com/2010/05/21/social-crm/

Our topic is about looking at the customer lifecycle- Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and determining how to drive not just satisfaction, but loyalty and advocacy. It’s about how to use technology to make that happen, easier and better.

If you are a small business – you might want a system like Nimble that can help you with contact management- both traditional and social. If you are a large company- you might want an integrated system that combines traditional and social media interactions like SAP for marketing, sales and service.

Whatever technology you choose, remember one thing- putting customer’s first means that you have a chance to drive loyalty and profitability.

Many people have written about Zappos. I have. What I find extraordinary about them is that they choose– as their main profit strategy – to make Customer Service the best it could be. This flew in the face of all tradition. Customer Service had been at the bottom of the barrel of priorities for most companies. But what their leadership knew was that a new type of company was to be born. One that put customer’s first.

Many people say, “Hey don’t compare me to Zappos. We aren’t them.” I ask, “Why wouldn’t you want to be?”
They went from $0 to $1 Billion in ten years…
Ya know.. maybe there is something to this customer-centric stuff, this CRM stuff, this social CRM stuff.

Come find out! http://smclascrm.eventbrite.com/ See you there! Learn. Share. Grow!™ – @DrNatalie

You can see more of Dr. Natalie’s musing here:
Ebook: Social Media ROI Myths and Truths | YouTube Videos: On ROI of Social Media | White Papers:  Social Media ROI | New Book on Facebook: Like My Stuff – How to Monetize Your Facebook Fans With Social Commerce & A Facebook Store | Twitter: @drnatalie | LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff | website/blog: www.drnatalienews.com/blog