Although there is not a domestic bone in my body, I am a huge fan of the Food Network Challenge! cake competitions. You know it is going to happen…someone’s cake will be lopsided or a cake tier may crash in the process of moving the cake from the kitchen to the judging table. It will happen because the chef was too busy worrying about the tactical elements of the cake and not the strategy of building the cake structure. Building a cake creation is both an art and a science, very similar to your organization’s CRM platforms and execution.
Last week, we spoke about the five social media topics to keep on your radar, to include social CRM (SCRM). We refer to social CRM as answering the social phone, but for those of you following the dynamic conversations exploding on the social web about social CRM, you may be familiar with Paul Greenberg’s stake in the ground definition:
“CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.” (short version)
With this definition in mind, does your organization have a CRM philosophy and business strategy in place? I am not talking about just having a CRM platform, but a plan for how this data is integrated and used across the enterprise. Before adding social to the mix, you must ensure your organization has a sound infrastructure in place to receive social data and connect to transactional data. Social media elements must be an extension of the CRM infrastructure and the data presentation must not simply be slapped on top, but flow seamlessly into the design.
Does this remind you of building one those wild cake creations? First, you must have a level base. As you start adding tiers, each pillar must also be level and working together to provide the support required for the next tier. One miscalculation and your cake or CRM strategy can come toppling down. So, what can you do to avoid this catastrophe?
- Define clear, measurable business objectives.
- Establish executive level shared vision of what defines customer relationships.
- Set relevant expectations with organization management and customers/community.
- Create a change management strategy.
- Review existing processes and establish what fits with the new vision.
- Ask the customers/community what they expect.
- Avoid software as a solution strategy and focus on building abilities and skills of your workforce.
Once you have your cake built and balanced, your organization can then add the trimmings. It is essential to understand that SCRM is not replacing CRM, but changing and strengthening the connection between the organization and customer/community. Each of us may have gotten to this point in time taking a different route, but all of us have the same goal. A cake that makes it to the destination site intact, while looking fabulous and tasting great.