Is Your Company Ready For Collaboration?

Although I write a lot of posts about being customer-centric, it’s important to remember that customers form only part of the corporate relationships agenda. Another category of important relationships are partners.

And partners will only become more important in the Digital Society.

A recent article by John Hagel III and Marc Singer entitled Unbundling the Corporation hit home just how the importance of partners will grow within the Digital Society. The article appeared in the McKinsey Quarterly.

Hagel and Singer wrote,

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Collaborate or Risk Social Media Failure

There’s substantial ROI of social media, whether it for PR, Marketing, Customer Service. But if leaders don't understand the business relevance of social media, they may be doing their organization harm.

If you missed out on yesterday’s Focus roundtable, then you missed out hearing Dr. Natalie and I talk on the importance of collaborating across functional departments and what happens to brands that don't.

Among our topics, we covered:

  1. Mixed messages that have a longer life due to social. – iRobot case study
  2. Not getting the full benefit of ROI. – Dell case study
  3. Dangers of poor leadership that can cause internal weakening due to political infighting. – Aliased case study (name hidden to protect the fightees).

Catch up, though, via the replay.


How California Tortilla Exemplifies Customer Centricity

In last week’s Focus Roundtable on The Promise of Social CRM, Dr. Natalie and I talked about how Social CRM is emulating the human approach. Kelly asked the question “What is the antithesis of a human approach? Example?”

In answer to Kelly’s question, I said look at most companies call centers. Putting the snark aside, though, there are companies that are getting Social CRM and doing it right.

California Tortilla is one company and I'm going to tell you why.

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Customer Centricity in a Social CRM World–Ebook now published!

The Simplifying Social Business ebook series just keeps rolling on. Customer Centricity in a Social CRM World, the 3rd book in the series, is now published on Kindle and Nook.

Social customer relationship management (Social CRM or SCRM) is one of the planks of the social business model and turns the focus to the customer, making them central to the business.

It goes beyond saying your customers are important, though. Companies with strong SCRM strategies build genuine and authentic relationships with customers by sharing two-way conversations with them.

A question begging an answer then is – What is “customer centricity” in a Social CRM world?

My answer goes against the conventional wisdom of some of today's thought leaders.

Crowd wisdom in social m

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Who owns the customer relationship?

I struggle with this question.  Crowd wisdom in Social CRM (SCRM) circles says in today’s world the customer owns the relationship.  That’s the power of social media.

True confessions, though, I’m not completely comfortable with this idea.

The reason? The inequality in a relationship where one party holds more power than the other.

Some will say the point of social media is to give customers power back.  Yes, it’s true – and it’s one of the great things about social media.  However, I also have concerns about the pendulum swinging too far to the left, in which case a new problem arises.

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Sensemakers versus Skynet

Esteban Kolsky makes me think.  Like today, he posted a provoking article on Sensemakers versus systems – and he was stimulated, in turn by Venessa Miemis, another favorite thinker of mine.  Let’s hear it for people who make us think.

I started to post a response to Esteban’s article but as I watched the length of my comment grow, decided to post it here instead.

Esteban postulates:

[D]o we need Sensemakers, people who can make sense of the data — or can we trust the systems to make sense and make the decisions for us?

Esteban’s essential argument is the world is too complex and the data volume so high that computers are needed to handle such high volumes of information and then act on them.

My thought?  I agree in part with the Esteban...but with a big qualification.


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Business strategy should always lead technology

There are ongoing discussions ablaze concerning how to label social media technology solutions.  Should they be called Social CRM or Social Business solutions or what have you.

It’s beneficial to decide on labels so we can all speak a common language so the discussion is important.

However, the focus on the technology is also a cart before the horse phenomena.

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