This talk has spawned a whole new sub culture that promotes products, solutions and consulting services aimed at addressing the need to understand and service the “Social Customer”.
In reality experts have struggled to agree on a consistent definition of Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) and it’s only in recent months that some consensus is reached.
CRM commentator and solution specialist, Paul Slade, believes that we are still over complicating it.
“At its heart, CRM is much simpler than many ‘experts’ would have you believe. It’s about effective customer management while your company markets to, sells to, delivers to, and services customers.”
Paul continues to explain that in driving a customer centric approach within your business, you consistently interact with customers through a multitude of channels. Social Media is simply an addition to channels that we are already familiar with.
The challenge is simply the understanding of how to incorporate social channels into your strategy effectively. Paul is quick to cast doubt on vendors offering its customers report based insights that are not actionable.
“All too often I see agencies and vendors talking about ‘SCRM’ and ORM solutions, yet all they offer are simple reports which are both static and usually out of date by the time a marketing team reviews them.”
He firmly states that this is not Social CRM. An SCRM tool needs to provide immediate insight into current trends and conversations. In addition the tools should allow end users, not IT personnel and analysts, to interact and influence the conversation based on these insights.
Paul is direct in his view, “In short, if your insights are not immediate and actionable, you’ve lost.”
It is this thinking which has become pervasive at “velocity xRM”, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Dynamics CRM. Jonathan Kropf, CEO of the “velocity group” says,
“The genius is in the simplicity but don’t fool yourself, this still requires really smart thinking at the systems level. This islikely the reason that other vendors solutions come up light in this area. This is exactly why we have invested heavily in developing powerful Social Insights and CRM capability on top of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 platform”
A technical team, headed by Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Dylan Haskins and development manager Sean Vowles, has been hard at work to develop this capability, which culminates in a brand-new product offering from the velocity xRM team called Aperio.
Jonathan says “We are incredibly excited about this product which represents a significant pivot in our previous solution delivery plans. Not only can we provide companies with the ability to better understand and interact with their customers, but Aperio also allows deep competitor insights.”
Aperio has passed product testing inside various customers who were part of the Beta program and will be made available for purchase to a select audience in August ahead of general release to market in September.