Social CRM and the Call Center – What’s the Difference?

Paul Greenberg, who gave an interesting keynote at CRM Evolution last week, was nice enough to make his keynote slides available to all. I love how open source concepts are everywhere these days.

But looking over these again, an interesting question popped into my head. As Paul’s slides paint a picture around convergence of CRM, the call center (since CRM Evolution is put on in tandem with the SpeeckTek conference), and customer voice, I thought to myself: “What’s the difference?”

I mean, really – in a call center scenario, what are we doing besides having the kinds of “social” engagements that Paul and other next-generation CRM gurus talk about? What better place to have a social strategy than when you’re actually talking to your customers, right?

Well, yes and no. The “yes” is that, of course, call center interactions are a great opportunity to show that you are a customer-centric organization. And a great experience there can spawn advocacy and great viral activity in a positive light. It can, of course, go terribly wrong – as we’ve seen in the now infamous United Breaks Guitars fiasco (I’ll be the one blogger to not post the video link).

But social CRM and understanding the voice of the customer is much more than simply optimizing direct interactions. There are more amorphous concepts at play here. Marketing is perhaps the biggest driver and department to benefit from the non-call center type of social CRM. While social CRM can and does help sales – the impact is not really felt there. Sales is about closing, and as I’ve discussed before, social CRM is not a closing tool. Instead, the branding, awareness and ability to learn a lot from the multiple conversation points with customers helps marketing and those taxed with measuring and optimizing loyalty, satisfaction, etc.

So, ultimately, a call center can be a strong component of a social CRM strategy. But social CRM encompasses much more in terms of channels, messaging, opportunities, purpose etc.

2 thoughts on “Social CRM and the Call Center – What’s the Difference?

  1. So refreshing to hear someone else say what I have been saying from the beginning. Social CRM is not about the customer interactions, it is about the data and feedback that they yield. And what that means to the organization. And how to use it.

    If I hear one more person tell me that to adopt SCRM all companies have to do is engage and listen I might just barf.

    I was listening to the people who told me to buy a certain stock at a low price, with sure information, and I was engaged in the conversation. I did not act on it though… guess who did not make the money?

    It is not about engaging in the conversation and listening. It is about what you do with the data. Trust me on this, if I would have listened back then we would be having a different conversation right now.

  2. I agree with you Esteban.
    First of all; is Social CRM really so different from traditional CRM that everyone is saying that if you are not “social” anymore, you do not really have CRM?
    In my opinion, customer interactions is just one of those channels which have been enabled, thanks to Web2.0 technologies. And a great one, that is!
    While there is a lot of junk on internet and it would probably be a while before someone finds an intelligent way to sift through data that is of importance, it still makes a lot of sense to listen and act.
    But then today these interactions would probably be more of “analytical crm” rather than the operational one.
    There are some great ideas floating around around social messaging, interactive dedicated (and serious!) communities and you would not be listening to them at your own peril!
    But money is in converting ears and sound into actionable intelligence by being ahead in curve!


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