Social customer service, inside out CRM

Marketing is now reputation management

Your brand is the sum of the customer experiences. Nearly 80% of all buying decisions are checked online, using an average of 10 sources. Customer feedback is the most prominent source. Most of these customer experiences are now shared online. Resulting in word of mouth on steroids. Completely transparent. With total recall. As a spectator sport. Across the whole customer journey. On a multiple of channels. Marketing truly has become reputation management.

Why is customer service important?

If you don’t manage this well, you have a potential “United Guitars” on your hands. Resulting in United Airlines’ stock going down 10%, taking 180 mln dollars of the stock value.

On a positive note, if you respond quickly customers are 3 times more likely to recommend you. On Twitter, that means you have about half an hour to reply. Preferably 24/7/365.

Social customer service

Customer service is where the rubber hits the road. In the good old days of 4 Ps and call centres from India, customer service was an activity that was behind closed doors. Now 80% of all tweets are customer service related. Customer service has gone social. At a very rapid rate.

Organisational impact

This makes things very interesting from an organisational perspective. Inside out CRM. Forcing you to become truly customer-centric, with the client in control. Not only forcing you to coordinate marketing and PR with customer service, but also linking it to change management, silo busting, continues improvement, innovation and HRM (everything is culture).

Where do you start?

You start by mapping the customer experience loop. From a technology, communication channel and touch point perspective. You then need to ensure internal alignment across all the relevant layers in the organisation (which one are not relevant?). You need to agree on the tone of voice and make sure it fits with your brand. You need to train your staff. And you need to agree with some new metrics, such as:

  • gratitude
  • customer effort
  • responsiveness
  • timeliness

Good book

It is a good book, full of tips. Here are a few:

  • Channels multiply, they don’t die (expect a telex)
  • Simple is best. Focus on one channel first and become very good at it.
  • Use FAQs
  • Watch Twitter
  • List the top 5% of your clients using followers, Klout and Peer Index
  • Happy staff, happy customers
  • Consider creating a community
  • It is when not if
  • Sentiment analysis is only 50% accurate
  • Empathy is everything
  • Read “What is the future of business” by Brian Solis,  “Delivering happiness” by Tony Hsieh or “The thank you economy” by Gary Vaynerchuck.


It is the organisational angle that tickles our fancy. it is a great book to address the organisational issues that a lot of our clients are facing. Using customer feedback as the trigger. Creating a sense of urgency. If you want to know if you have a burning platform on your hands, go online and find out what your clients are saying about you. Use the conversation prism as your map. Share the results with EVERYONE in the organisation.

sensemaking cover

Why reinvent the wheel and why not learn from the best business thinkers? And why not use that as a platform to make better business decisions? Alone or as a team.

Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

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Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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