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March 03, 2011

Social CRM: Using Knowledge Management to Improve Customer Relationships

By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor


Jennifer Roberts, a marketing and content strategist for Collective Intellect (News - Alert), a social media analytics company, notes that a recent post on Wim Rapen’s blog the other day, titled “Social CRM – What Relationships Should You Care For, And Why?” set her thinking.

As Rapen argues, “the way we look at Social CRM today puts companies very much in the center of the relationship with the customer,” Robert said, adding “I think he has a valid point but what I thought was truly insightful was his emphasis on the way knowledge flows through a customer’s network.”

Accoring to Rapen -- “for companies, at least,” Robert notes -- the emphasis should be less about managing the relationship and more about the flow of knowledge of information.

“I don’t claim to know what Social CRM solution perspective is most effective,” she says. “I think depending on the outcomes an organization is looking to achieve, their approach may vary considerably across industries. But I think it’s an interesting point to consider -- using knowledge and expertise as the foundation for an engagement.”

Looking at things from this perspective, Roberts says, the most likely path for success is found in an organization’s “ability to aggregate and filter conversations for common problems and solutions from across social media platforms. They can then build a repository of tried and tested, accurate methods for solving problems, optimizing products or identifying resources for more information.”

This concept has always been one of the promises of social CRM, of course. But as Roberts makes clear, a simple database of FAQs isn’t enough: “I think they can almost provide the ‘certified answer’ to a customer’s question; the answer may not have originated with them but by identifying, crediting and disseminating what works, there is a chance for an organization to engage beyond standard outreach campaigns to both the consumer having the issue and the consumer providing the solution.”

Then, she says, “not only are they providing access to verified answers by becoming a participant in the discussion but they are nurturing the relationship ties within this particular group.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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