Traditional CRM strategy focuses on managing the user experience via websites, call centers, and retail locations. With social CRM (SCRM), the organization acknowledges that the customer experience is defined by all customer touch points, including social and mobile media. The evolution to SCRM is partly in response to the realization that the customer, not the organization, is now in control of the relationship, and that an organization’s marketing strategies must reflect this new dynamic. SCRM assigns employees a new role in communicating feedback up and down relevant communications channels to optimize the opportunities social media represents to their organization.
Following are three brief case studies that illustrate how real-world organizations are using SCRM to enhance the customer experience:
Case Study 1: Best Buy
Best Buy, a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services, needed an efficient way to enhance customer support and stimulate customer/employee engagement throughout the enterprise.
In 2008, the company launched Best Buy Unboxed, an online forum where customers could engage in conversations with the Best Buy community, which included Best Buy’s advocates (Blueshirts, Geek Squad Agents, and employee community teams), as well as with other customers. Partly in response to the surge in online engagement, in 2009 Best Buy rolled out Twelpforce, a Twitter-based program that focused on the customer experience by giving customers the opportunity to tweet inquiries directly to the Best Buy community. Employees in each functional area, along with other community users with permission, were empowered to tweet a response if they knew the answer.
To manage its diverse social campaigns, Best Buy employes a “networked hive,” or horizontal integration of initiatives that spanned otherwise vertical functions throughout the enterprise. Governance is managed through a Center of Excellence model, with representatives from different programs participating.
To date, Best Buy continues to maintain its Best Buy Unboxed community, which is the hub of multiple community forums, blogs, and ideas exchanges, and provides links to the company’s various social media platforms.
The importance of SCRM to Best Buy is summed up in a quote from Best Buy’s Community Manager, Gina Debogovich.
“Our customers are active in multiple channels, and it’s important for us to be there too… through these engagements we are providing our customers with access to knowledgeable experts who can assist them with their questions and help them get the most out of their technology experience.”
- US $ 5 Million benefit to the organization
- 600,000 customers visiting the community; more than 100,000 social conversations annually.
- Over 900,000,000 messages read by customers.
- Improved employee morale; increased knowledge sharing and connection across the enterprise; heightened customer experience.
“Our model is like a hive. Each group manages its own initiatives, but we work under a common strategy. We are well integrated, well networked, and everyone is responsible for social media.”
John Bernier, Product Manager – Connect
- Did Twelpforce transform the company culture of Best Buy? If so, how? What risks did they take in implementing?
- Why haven’t more companies adopted this model?
Case Study 2: Bosch Power Tools
Bosch Power Tools, a market leader in power tools for professionals in building, electrical and wood working industries, noted that market research indicated that a dominant factor influencing consumer purchases is the experiences and recommendations of current Bosch Power Tools customers. Bosch has an extensive presence on Facebook, as well as its website-based “Bob Community,” which attracts 460,000 visitors with 35,000 registrations. The organization needed to determine if its investment in Facebook was reaching the desired demographic, and compare the value of its Facebook fans to that of its Bob Community users.
Target social media to positively influence and increase recommendations among the existing users of Bosch Power Tools products. Bosch sought a software tool that could provide an in-depth analysis of its social network audience to provide deeper insight into its users and a clearer interpretation of customer feedback.
They selected the social insight software by Globalpark to continuously monitor audience participation, recognizing that its findings would influence future audience interaction, brand strategy, and product development. This SCRM tool furthered understanding the demographics of the Bosch audience, using social media to communicate to potential customers and allocate the financial and human resources to each service. The software was fully integrated into the company’s Facebook Page, and combined Facebook followers’ profile data with direct feedback of their interactions with the Page. This provided Bosch with the statistical data needed to better understand exactly who was interacting with its Facebook Page, and whether this audience differed from that utilizing the Bob Community.
With SCRM, Bosch was able to quantitatively assess which professional trades used which social media application:
- Wood working trade had a significant presence on Facebook, enabling Bosch to tailor the use of social media within its CRM program.
- Only 11 % of Bosch’s social media audience used both the Bob Community and Facebook.
- Demographics of the Facebook audience were younger (e.g. apprentices in vocational schools) than the Bob Community.
Bosch’s SCRM data affirmed the need for the continued use of both Facebook and the Bob Community to ensure all demographics and professional trades that Bosch Power Tools sells to are covered. SCRM data also suggested that targeting both brand advisors and advocates on Facebook would likely influence potential customers. Moreover, tracking the influence of brand advocates’ comments would enable Bosch to pinpoint the impact and reception of these opinions on potential customers.
- How does SCRM help organizations manage external conversations?
- How has Bosch used SCRM to integrate its marketing function?
Case Study 3: Thomas Cook Travel
Thomas Cook is a truly global travel company, with almost 100 aircrafts, approximately 3,000 stores, and 33,000 employees throughout the world. Travelers with questions typically browse the Thomas Cook website’s FAQs to find answers. If these don’t resolve their query, people oftentimes give Thomas Cook a call or reach out on the company’s social profiles.
The company lacked an integrated approach to managing customer inquiries, which were variously handled by the company’s customer service team, website team (responsible for FAQ’s), or digital team (responsible for support on the social networks). The questions received on the phone and via the social channels were very similar; however, different teams were responsible for answering them.
Thomas Cook worked with social engagement platform Engagor to develop a comprehensive social strategy. They started by simply listening to what people were saying and asking for in order to streamline the process and improve the customer experience. After analyzing this data, they utilized SCRM technology to design a customer tagging system that segmented inquiries into related categories, such as pre-travel or post-travel, complaints or compliments, and targeted questions. Popular questions were added to the FAQ’s.
SCRM allowed Thomas Cooke to take an integrated approach to customer engagement. Customer service, website, and digital teams collaborate weekly to analyze feedback (verbal and social) and website analytics. This unified team uses the data to brainstorm how they can improve the customer experience. With SCRM, Thomas Cooke was able to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and create a more efficient workflow.
- Thomas Cook now provides unified customer service through a single, multi-skilled team managing social media strategy.
- This team expanded the company’s social fan base to over 250,000 fans and created a large online community with a high level of engagement.
- Social media is no longer the sole responsibility of marketing, but is now managed by a cross-functional team that includes customer service and HR.
- How are social media and customer experience related?
- How do social listening and social data analysis contribute a better customer experience?