Last Friday, I participated in Social CRM 2011, a one-day conference in London organized by Luke Brynley-Jones.
The event attracted well over 100 participants who came to hear a range of excellent speakers and join in discussion over a topic that defies clear definition – social customer relationship management or, simply, social CRM.
Indeed, a consistent and simple definition of the term eluded all the speakers. So just see what happens if you search online for a definition of social CRM – lots of different explanations.
I guess the closest best definition on the day came from Esteban Kolsky in his presentation on "Three Reasons You Will Do Social CRM":
[Social] CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction in a business environment.
In other words, it’s CRM that adds a key ingredient – social media – individuals can use to communicate with each other naturally where the focus is on business. Does that sound like a clear description?
In any case, don’t let the lack of a simple definition take away from some very good presentations and discussion, both in the conference room and out there in twitterland via the #scrm11 hashtag. The presentations were also live video streamed.
For me, the three most notable presenters were Brent Leary ("Will Social CRM Deliver on Its Promise?"), Esteban Kolsky as I mentioned above, and Mitch Lieberman ("Coordination or Collaboration"). In addition, I thought Eric Stahl‘s and Xabier Ormazabal‘s product demonstration of Salesforce.com’s enterprise CRM offerings including Chatter were very good indeed. Such a product demo was wholly appropriate in the context of the topic and of the event.
Luke has posted his notes from the conference along with links to many of the presentation decks on Slideshare – definitely worth reviewing that will help you see what social CRM is all about and help you get a better understanding of it.
Even without that simple definition.
By the way, the image above is from the final slide in Mitch Lieberman’s deck. Obvious to say, really, but it makes a pretty clear point about social CRM – the customer is at the centre of all you do. Conceptually, it reminds me a lot of Christopher’s Carfi’s Social Customer Manifesto – and he created that in 2005.
One thing we need to understand is that traditional CRM has been quite. a bit of an extension of organizations speaking at customers rather than creating the channels for customers to talk back. Social media gives just such a channel, but more than the applications, its about how much organizations are ready to open up to conversations.