Seven Critical Questions to Ask Before Developing a Social Media Policy
Increase project success rates by providing well-defined guidance for social media initiatives.
Earlier this week I wrote about the nebulous definition of social CRM, making the point that it encompasses far more than simply using social media to communicate with customers. And, as I've written previously, social CRM works best as a complement to traditional CRM. Companies shouldn't make the mistake of thinking social CRM removes the need for more traditional CRM tools like customer surveys.
One thing lacking in all three of those posts, though, is a reason for using social CRM. And as everyone knows, launching a technology-driven business initiative without a good reason is a bad idea.
While reasons (like mileage) will vary from company to company, a list of short case studies I found on Software Advice provides some great real-world examples of companies successfully using social CRM. Several of the examples involve customer support, an area in which many companies would like to lower costs without cutting corners, since good customer service is becoming an increasingly important differentiator.
Chordiant, which created an online community using a product from Jive, with a goal of better managing its product requirements process. Users, developers, product managers and others communicate via blogs, discussion forums and wikis. Some statistics give an idea of how it's working. The community includes 30 companies from more than 20 countries, with more than 1,000 individual contributors. Most important, the community's efforts have yielded 15 collaborative product releases.
Linksys, a division of Cisco that created an online support community using a product from Lithium. The community incorporates existing options, including a knowlege base and online chat. Thanks to strong usage, Linksys was able to eliminate its e-mail support and is seeing a reduction in call volumes. Customers don't seem to mind, as overall satisfaction with customer support has increased.
Enterasys Networks, which began using Salesforce.com's Chatter to both resolve customer service issues and support the sales process. In the first quarter following the Chatter implementation, Enterasys closed a record number of deals, perhaps because members of the sales team can monitor the status of deals and make suggestions to colleagues. Product support agents and project managers also use the tool to get real-time status updates and collaborate with coworkers. (Last spring I shared the experiences of FinancialForce.com, another company using Chatter.)
Since several of the examples involve creating online communities, I'm including a link to my post on "Online Communities Dos and Don'ts," based on my interviews with the folks who manage online communities for Microsoft, SAP and Dell. And I included some of the same folks' thoughts in a post on converting passive community members into more active participants.