The 5 Ms of Social Insight

NEW YORK, August 2, 2010 — "Real time is not fast enough and saying sorry is not good enough anymore," said Ray Wang, Altimeter Group partner and presenter here at the CRM Evolution conference at the New York Marriott Marquis.

[Editors' Note: For more coverage from the CRM Evolution conference, please click here.]

Wang, who spoke to a packed room about the new rules of relationship management, took the stance that we are just beginning to figure out the relationship part of CRM. "Fifteen years ago CRM was invented and we heard all these promises," Wang said. "But when we look back at systems,they weren't designed for the relationship piece because we gravitated toward the management piece."

Not all is lost. Wang told attendees that the answer to re-engaging the customer and rebuilding relationships is in building trust through meaningful interactions and what he called "social insights." Wang prefaced the heart of his speech with three forces he believes are driving the change in customer engagement:

A decline in an individual's trust of companies. Trust has changed, Wang stated.  "It used to be about the quality of a product, but now it's if you are connected effectively with customers, and if you are transparent," he said. "Financial returns are last on the list."

  • Social media adoption abounds: "A shift has happened culturally and you have to catch up," Wang said frankly.
  • The failure of CRM efforts to engage and capture influence: CRM systems aren't completely invaluable, the speaker contended, yet there are many processes that companies should augment.
  • "Social adoption moves past all tipping points," Wang said, pointing to a comparison of social media with inventions such as the telephone and television. "Social will be like air in 2011... everywhere."

Given the rise in companies exploring social interactions with customers, Altimeter Group has tracked 18 use cases. "Organizations are starting to do this--Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter," Wang said. "But there isn't a plan. It's not coordinated." Everything, Wang insisted, should start with the five M's:

  1. Monitoring: This is about listening in on conversations that you might not have known were occurring. Look at keywords, Wang advised, and start by searching your company name and maybe your competitor's name. Use monitoring to figure out who your biggest advocates are. "Figure out influential people and communities and then think about tying this together," Wang said.
  2. Mapping: What's the point of company Twitter account if you aren't following your customers? And, what's the point of making Twitter a process if you don't connect Twitter to your CRM? "This is not just a technology problem, this is a process problem," Wang said. "You need to ask, ‘Can we have your Twitter handle and your Facebook page? Give it to us so we can help you.'" The trick, Wang maintained, is to get customers to map their profiles for you.
  3. Management: Once you establish where your customers are on the social Web, how do you handle the noise? There are a lot of business processes and rules within current CRM systems that can be leveraged to handle social data. Wang belabored the point that without a purpose, social data is not actionable.
  4. Middleware: This is the geeky IT stuff that Wang said ties social systems with CRM and customer service solutions. It's very possible to build business rules, test them, change them and manage them to make social media much like any other business process.
  5. Measurement: "This is what it's really about," Wang proclaimed. Thankfully, there are numerous tools on the market that provide dashboards to establish and track goals and progress. The key is in establishing goals before taking action. "Rely on data to provide benchmarks and trending," Wang suggested. "Add mobile, geo-spatial, sentiment [data] and you've got some pretty good insight."

Wang presented the following steps to getting a social program off the ground:

  • Begin with the end in mind.
  • Decide what to measure.
  • Start with social customer insights.
  • Identify your targets.
  • Choose a use case.
  • Design for the future state processes.
  • Consider change management.
  • Align back to CRM.
  • Test. Refine. Repeat.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.

You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" below.

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