In the annals of enterprise information technology, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has a storied, if not necessarily checkered past. The term has been associated with expensive implementations with hard to measure returns. CRM is also too often confused with Sales Force Automation (SFA), a system used to track deals and report to management. CRM is bigger, more comprehensive, encompassing Sales, Service and Marketing.
Unfortunately, the implementations made headlines, more often for failures than successes. The question then is why did CRM simply not fade away and disappear into the night?
Actually, it almost did just that, but along came Social. As Social Media began to grab the limelight people began to take another look at CRM. It needed a boost, a new context, so great minds began to consider the connection of CRM with Social; Social CRM was born.
Whether Social CRM as an independent entity has staying power or is more akin to a one hit wonder (ala Carl Douglas -- Kung Fu Fighting) remains to be seen.
The Social CRM Complement
Social CRM does a nice job bridging the gap between its namesakes, giving context to social and a human touch to CRM. It bridges the gap both in discussions, as well as in practice.
Within sales, Social CRM humanizes the sales effort, allowing people to connect beyond a transaction. In customer service, Social CRM is able to serve as a guide to the contact center, now as the starting point for Enterprise Customer Experience, where Customer Experience is the marketing term darling du jour. I would like to extend it a bit, making it a bit more concise.
Enterprise Customer Experience represents the people, internal processes and technology required to listen, guide and engage your customers in the digital world; all towards creating personalized therefore enhanced experiences."
At some point soon we will stop referring to these idea as Social CRM; it will default back to simply CRM. People are social, technology is not.
Make no mistake, the impact of Social, technically and culturally has been made both on the customer side as well as organizationally and will continue. There have been some ongoing debates regarding CRM and Social CRM, whether it is a strategy versus technology or both.