Customer Management Articles

Why the Social Business Will Decide the Future of CRM – Interview With Thomas Wieberneit

by Christophe Primault
Published on 2 March 2012

Social CRMWhat is the real difference between CRM and Social CRM?

We interviewed Social CRM expert Thomas Wieberneit, the founder of SocialMeetsCRM, who follows his mission to enable mutually beneficial dialogues between companies and its customers to get answers to this question.

With more than 15 years of experience in CRM development and consulting, Thomas gives us interesting insights into what he thinks the future of CRM Apps will look like. asked Thomas how he would define the difference between CRM and Social CRM. His answer was pretty clear. He believes that ultimately there is no difference. "Social CRM is the extension of CRM into using social media" and while "concepts and strategies are the same, the technologies differ."

Social CRM is not enough itself

Thomas gives us an interesting prognosis for the future of Social CRM:

"I do see the term "Social CRM" vanish soon and be merged back into CRM. CRM inherently is social. It is also apparent that "Social CRM" is not enough in itself. As a term it is contained in "Social Business". Now the interesting question is where CRM is headed to. This is a part of the answer to the question "where social business is heading to."

One kernel he believes that will remain specific to Social CRM is the customer centricity, whereas "CRM will focus more and more on co-creating value with customers, based upon the insight that value is created by the customers themselves with support of the company, not by the company for the customers."

This seems to be a revolutionary idea of the social CRM space. However, when comparing the most important CRM and Social CRM apps in our last infographic, one of the findings was that there is already a reasonable amount of software vendors including social elements into a traditional CRM (see the full top CRM apps and social CRM apps infographic).

The two sides of the Social CRM coin

When we asked Thomas to give us practical examples or case studies of Social CRM being uses successfully, he came up with interesting use cases.

  • "When shopping for a complete telco connection one of the contenders brought itself back into business via their Twitter team after not reacting fast enough when contacted using a face-to-face approach. The success is that their Twitter team managed to not get this (global) telco out of an opportunity. This imo shows how poor processes in telcos work."
  • "A backfiring example is how a big railway operator manages to keep their own personnel with less information than their customers - who know better about delays than the train personnel. Here we are on the boundaries of social business. Still it is hard to understand that systems are in place that inform customers who then can inform the very people who are supposed to have the answers …"

Think about your strategy before picking an app

When implementing CRM or Social CRM, companies feel concerned about which software they should choose. Thomas points out that "the software needs to be able to fulfill the strategic goals of the business. Just implementing a software is a great (short term) gain for vendor and implementation partner. So, it is paramount to first get the (S) CRM strategy sorted, get the affected and involved people into the boat, then get the goals and objectives aligned with existing and new processes and then, at the end of this process, look and decide for a software."

Thank you very much for this useful insight, Thomas!

I recommend you check out the SocialmeetsCRM Blog where business owners and interested users can find loads of practical tips, surveys, forecasts and articles around the Social CRM space.