Why “Social CRM” should be called “Social CEM”?

[Update (30-June-2011): There's another more insightful article written by Bob Thomson, CEO of CustomerThink, on this topic that you may want to check out - http://bit.ly/kKBlAK]


CRM essentially represents a transactional mindset. People who get CRM (a huge majority) generally have tough time getting CEM (customer experience management); it’s also one of the reasons why CEM isn’t as popular as CRM is but that doesn’t mean CEM is not as useful or as important. In fact, many studies have shown that managing/understanding customer experience is a more effective strategy for inspiring loyalty than just analysing transaction data from CRM.

In the old days, measuring experience was a challenge but things have changed now. Using social media monitoring tools or web analytics tools (e.g Tealeaf), you can measure customer experience to fairly sophisticated levels. The focus of CEM is experience (interactions), which is fundamentally different from transactions (CRM) in both how it is measured (time, volume) and how it is used (interactivity, designing experiences).


So, what has it got to do with renaming “Social CRM” to “Social CEM”? Well, social is all about interactions while CRM is about transactions, so whoever came up with the name “social CRM” probably belonged to CRM camp or perhaps didn’t have much respect for “social is interaction/experience” mindset. Both are worrying thoughts but what’s really surprising is how popular the name “Social CRM” has become and nobody seems to have questioned the mismatch; maybe smart people do see the point that CRM in “social CRM” is going be actually practiced like CEM, so why bother about the name. 

But to me, it certainly looks like a fancy oxymoron. It’s almost like asking an accountant to do a marketer's job!! 


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Updated later:  For my own reference, I'm copying Bob Thomson's reply to a comment I made on his blog regarding social CRM vs social CEM debate:


Bob Thompson

buzzword dynamics

Tauqueer, I enjoyed reading your post Why “Social CRM” should be called “Social CEM"? Thanks for including a link to this post, and for adding to the discussion here.
It's hard sometimes to understand what's really happening vs. the buzz generated by various industry interests.
"Social CRM" is a buzzword driven by the CRM software industry and affiliated analysts and consultants. As noted in my post, in many cases what is being called Social CRM is really a "social business" application like community software or social media monitoring. No real connection to CRM except in the buzzword.
Well, these "social" vendors have decided that, while riding the buzzword may have been a good thing to do the past couple of years, that time has past. Now they are repositioning as a CEM or Social Business solutions.
Perhaps we'll see Social CEM emerge as the next buzzword, but I doubt it. The "customer experience" industry is plenty strong without having to attach itself to the "social business" industry. But I think the social customer experience is very real and important, even though it has not been hyped.
The idea of sCEM makes as much sense as sCRM, if you take these terms to mean the integration of social business with CEM and CRM, respectively. There is value in social data and analytics, which is great input to CRM (marketing, sales, service automation). But equally important, as you noted, is the experiential value of social media.
Unfortunately, despite saying CRM includes CEM, the CRM industry has a very limited view of customer experience, thinking it is mainly how customers perceive CRM-automated processes. CEM thought leaders know that customer experience is a much broader concept where people matter too in the complete end-to-end experience.

be relevant (CRM) and manage exp (CEM) to create engagement

My 2 cents:
I believe we'd all agree that "experience" is the highest level of deliverable and that products/services that are wrapped with interesting experiences easily stand around. What social has done is that it has accelerated the pace with which we are moving towards experience economy.
Consider this - If you want to sell something to people who are connected to social-web, your going to have to first engage them (see Paul Greenberg's definition of social CRM) but what's engagement? Engagement is created by experience and social media offers an extremely powerful platform to create meaningful/participatory experiences. These concepts fall outside the realm of CRM.
The R in CRM stands for the relationship that a customer maintains with a brand over his lifetime (with the brand; source - Regis McKenna & Jim Novo). To maintain and prolong R, companies use CRM analytics (RFM scores etc.) and improve their relevance to consumers (e.g: offer discounts to customers who are showing signs of dis-engagement etc.).
We still need CRM to remain relevant but we also need to be able to engage customers. Engagement comes from orchestrating experiences; and social plays an important role here.
It'd be a good idea to keep these two fields separate; if we really have the urge to club two buzzwords together - I'd say let's call it social CEM !!
If you think I made some sense here, you might want to check these too:
http://bit.ly/kdvtP7
http://bit.ly/lIe8j4
http://bit.ly/l9MFTQ

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