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What’s the Difference Between Social Media and Social CRM?

November 9, 2010

Guest post by Venson Kuchipudi, Sr. Director, Social Computing Strategy, Infor

I often get asked “What’s the difference between social media and Social CRM (SCRM)?”

The fact is that CRM is inherently meant to be a social interaction. However, to date, the tools and processes in place have largely been one way—from a company to its customers.

SCRM transforms traditional CRM into a two-way dialog where the customer is the driving force behind what the company does and how it does it. It’s a STRATEGY that’s often supported by new tools and technology, whereas social media should be considered as some of the TACTICS included in that strategy.

Mashable has a great post on why companies need to embrace Social CRM. Paul Greenberg, a leading authority on SCRM, states that Social CRM is "… designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide a mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It's the company response to the customer's owning of the relationship."

Michael Fauschette, a leading industry analyst, also has a great definition: "Social CRM is the tools and processes that encourage better, more effective customer interaction and leverage the collective intelligence of the broader customer community with the intended result of increasing intimacy between an organization and its prospects and customers. The goal is to make the relationship with the customer more intimate and tied to the company by building a public ecosystem to better understand what they want and how they interact with the various company touchpoints like sales, customer service, etc."

Mashable includes a diagram from Jacob Morgan of Chess Media that nicely illustrates the SCRM process:


In essence, SCRM is a public customer ecosystem in which the entire company participates. However, the customer defines the process, channels, and interactions.

Ray Wang, a leading analyst, offers 18 use cases of Social CRM. In it he describes how SCRM helps companies discover important, external conversations by their customers and tie those back to business objectives and to existing CRM systems. In effect, SCRM brings more value to existing CRM systems and processes.

The reality is that SCRM requires organizations to change how they view and interact with their customers. For many, this social adoption is fraught with fear and resistance, but like any disruptive evolution it’s just an early hurdle to eventual adoption. Progressive companies are hiring Social Directors, Community Managers, and exploring the next wave of CRM tools. Eventually all companies will have to adopt some or all of these approaches to stay competitive in the customers’ eyes.

So are you adopting Social CRM strategies within your organization? What resources, tools, and technologies are you using to support it? How do you define Social CRM? I'd love to hear your comments.


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