Social CRM 2011 – New York Summary & Presentations

Social CRM 2011 New York  small

The second in the series of Social CRM conferences I’m running this year took place at Tribeca Cinemas in New York on Thursday – and I’m pleased to say it was, once again, a fascinating day. Here’s a run-down of the sessions. You can view the presentations on our Slideshare page and we’ll be linking to photos and video clips over the coming week.

Richard Huges of Broadvision (which runs Clearvale, the enterprise social network), kicked off the day with a thought-provoking presentation about the changing nature of customer communications. He gave us the analogy of social CRM being like a big red London bus – where companies aren’t the driver (that’s Facbook. Twitter, LinkedIn…), and they can’t control the conversation (especially the noisy kids at the back), but they can listen, engage and make friends. He cited Paul Greenberg’s definition of sCRM as “a philosophy and a business strategy”.

Next up, Bridget O’Brien (VP Marketing & Communications, Vistaprint) gave an insightful case study of how the $1 billion enterprise has implemented a radical – and often painful – programme of “socialization”, as a “philosophy and strategy”, and how this has driven both customer loyalty and profits. Vistaprint is particularly focused on identifying, engaging with and rewarding their fans, who they categorise as either Superfans, Casual fans or Value-seekers.

I then had the pleasure of interviewing one of the world’s leading social customer care practitioners, Frank Eliason, SVP of Citi (formerly @comcastcares). I say “interview”, but in reality I simply prompted Frank, who roamed among the audience, inspiring and enthusing as he went. His key points included a plea not to drive complaints onto social media by “providing a crappy offline service”, a clarification that sCRM is not the same as “social servicing”, and that companies should personalize their communications as much as possible (“People don’t connect to logos. People care about people”). He also said he actively recruits customer care staff who care about the customers, rather than the brand.

Chris Selland of Terametric then Chaired a Panel Discussion that challenged the very notion of Social CRM (“Cool Buzzword: Where are the Customers?”). He was joined by Bridget O’Brien, Matt Carter (IBM) and Marshall Lager (3rd Idea). Among other topics the panel gave some suggestions for scaling up customer engagement on social: “automate the things you can, so you can focus staff time on things that need a personal touch” (Matt) and “use customer advocates to help you scale” (Marshall).

After lunch Jon Bird (American Airlines) gave us our second case study of the day. Presenting a slide showing the scores of interaction points that AA has with it’s customers on each journey, he quipped: “these are all the ways we can royally screw up your trip or, alternatively, make it a special experience”. Jon explained how “service failure creates an opportunity” and how AA has sets out to turn angry critics into brand advocates through social engagement. AA’s social CRM tools, including Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Radian6 and Context Optional, have enabled them to move from reactive to proactive customer engagement.

Chris Selland then took us back into the evolution of CRM – showing how customers increase in value over time and how data management is the key to maintaining this value growth. The social data management question is tough (“90% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years”). Offering personal, yet professional communications also presents businesses with a challenge (as Kenneth Cole recently discovered) and using technology without allowing it to dominate your communications is another.

Our Social Media Monitoring Panel, Chaired by Wendy Troupe, brought together three of the finest exponents of the art: Marshall Sponder (WebMetricsGuru.com), Sebastian Hempstead (SVP North America, Brandwatch – the leading European monitoring company, recently launched in the US), and Joshua March (CEO, Conversocial). Seb explained that customer needs are moving more rapidly than technology can evolve and that a lack of common data standards is hampering clarity – i.e. different sources, queries, and understandings of terms are preventing like-for-like comparison of monitoring tools. Marshall echoed this, saying that the lack of a “common language” often led to badly defined goals and problems with ROI measurement. Josh stressed that most companies just need to start listening and engaging in a systematic way – which is tough enough on it’s own!

For the final presentation of the day Paul Hearing focused our minds on the “engagement” aspects of social CRM – explaining how, by integrating gaming methodologies, into their marketing and customer care, brands are increasing both engagement and loyalty. Any rewards you give fans or customers should “socially amplifiable”. The results can be spectacular. Badgeville clients boast an average 25% increase in business objectives achieved, 104% increase in social referrals via Facebook and Twitter, 53% more posts and comments from users and 90% more Likes on Facebook.

We closed the day by bringing the conversation back to the key driver of sCRM: the customer. I asked the audience whether they were comfortable, as consumers, to have their social media conversations listened to by brands (90% were). I then asked if they were happy to have their conversations with 3rd parties listened to, analysed and stored by brands (only 30% were). Richard Hughes and Jon Bird joined me for an open discussion around the ethics of social CRM. We felt that most customers probably aren’t aware of social media listening and the feeling in the room was that, if brands jump into private conversations or “cold” contact people via social media, it’s only going to be well-received if they are offering something valuable and relevant.

In case you missed them – our Exhibitors at SCRMNYC were:

Badgeville - Gamification tools and services
Brandwatch – Social media listening and engagment platform
Broadvision – Enterprise social networking and Social CRM platform (Clearvale)
Conversocial – Social Customer Care platform
Social Cubix - Facebook app development
Shoutlet – Social media engagement platform
Parature - Social customer service platform

Next event:  We’ll be in France on 6th December for Social CRM 2011 Paris. Speakers include Voyages-SNCF (French railways) and one of the largest water companies, Lyonnaise des Eaux. Join us!

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