November 23, 2010, 1:47 PM — There has been a good bit of back and forth going on lately after the recent Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara about the terms e2.0, social CRM and social business. I'm getting tired of the argument frankly, all of the terms have a place in what has been happening and they each describe a piece of what I think has to become a "whole". Social CRM and programs that deal with the "social customer" are the new "black" this year. And why not, every business wants to get closer to its customers, right? There are some great success stories about everything from using consumer based social communications channels like Facebook and Twitter for marketing, support and sales to building community based support through peer-to-peer networks. Social is gaining traction all across customer facing functions in many organizations and companies are starting to realize that the social customer expects companies to interact with them "when, where and how" the customer chooses.
Making a business social is more of a cultural change than a technology decision. The technology helps of course, but underneath, a successful social approach to customers is about realizing that the customer owns the relationship with the company, not the other way around, and that they look for an experience and relationship with the company, not just a transaction. It seems that in the age where anyone can have an online voice the level of tolerance for company policies and procedures that in the past were common place has gone way down. And by the way, that voice can be extremely loud and have a very wide reach. Maybe we've just learned that we have more choices and that the transparency and openness that we're adopting needs to apply to companies as well. Whatever the reason, it's much easier to lose a customer today and much easier for that ex-customer to influence others to defect as well. The good news is that the same tools and attitudes that are making customers expect more can help companies deliver more.