From Social CRM to Social Business: The Story of #SCRM13

On the 8-9 July we hosted Social CRM 2013 (London), our popular two-day workshop and conference. The aim the was to look beyond the confusion of definitions of...

Our Social Times - IMG_0009

On the 8-9 July we hosted Social CRM 2013 (London), our popular two-day workshop and conference.  The aim the was to look beyond the confusion of definitions of “social CRM” and address the real issues, namely:

  • How social media can be the catalyst for positive change within organisations, with the risk of disruption but also the huge opportunity for creativity and collaboration (and perhaps co-creation).
  • How customer-facing teams within organisations can work to develop a shared agenda, based around improving the customer experience.
  • How effective external communication through social media often requires deep-rooted culture change, with a shift in mindset and processes within organisations.
  • How these developments can be brought together into a coherent socially-driven strategy for organisations – i.e. the start of genuine social business.

What, exactly, is social business? from Philip Sheldrake

Our first speaker, Philip Sheldrake (Euler Partners) started with a rousing call for radical change. “A Social Business is not a business that uses social media to help it do what it it has always done.” Social businesses are different in how they are structured and operate.

Philip explained how social is much more than being on Twitter or Facebook, and having an internal social network. It is about empowerment of individuals that make up the organisation, building richer, more productive relationships with each other – shared values and shared value.

Bringing Social to the Heart of the Business – Ben Kay, EE 

Ben Kay, head of Digital Strategy & Adoption at EE talked about how social was there from the launch of the business – their approach ‘Turns Social from something we do, to the way we do business.’ Their social hub (see video here) gives EE real time insight allows them to identify changes happening at scale – looking at trends, competitors and sentiment. Using their social hub from the beginning has given them buy-in from C-Suite executives who can see the power of immediate insight, allowing EE to act smarter and faster.

Actionable social insight – drive organisational change, act smarter, act faster. The competitive advantage. @Benjamin_Kay #scrm13

— Mireille Patoine (@Mireille_Top50) July 9, 2013

Looking Beyond Social Data to Social Business – Jacqui Taylor, Managing Director, FlyingBinary

Social platforms create social data, add to that the plethora of them being used by several different departments and you end up with siloed views of customer conversations. Jacqui talked about how you need a new approach to engagement, including taking into consideration the demands of Gen Y.

In 4 years time Generation Y will be running the workplace, they are a visual generation and so will generate visual data. We must learn not to silo data in separate departments. The Gen Y generation approach trust differently to Gen X and expect more from networks handling their data.

Social Customer Service: why it’s essential and who’s doing it well – Martin Hill-Wilson, Brainfood Training

Martin started his presentation with a statement of truth: “why do consumers use social for customer service? Because of a crisis, or a problem. So for organisations it is not a case of if it’s going to happen, but when is it going to happen?”

In many ways, customer service has not moved on in the last 30 years – it remains all about cost cutting. Now, is customer service the new marketing? With social the risk is that it can become a spectator sport. It is public and it works both ways – positive and negative. In Q1 2013 the number of questions being asked by brand fans increased by 30% (source: Social Bakers) – and the response rate has dramatically increased along with it. But social is still lagging behind traditional service. The fact is, if you’re on the phone you will get a response, but around 20% of tweets are left unsresponded.

Does the customer want social service? Yes. They don’t want to search on Google, to find a phone number or wait on hold. They’d rather send a tweet with the ‘you can deal with this’ attitude, so they can get on with their day.

Martin highlighted case studies showing new ways of using social for service from:

  • Barclaycard USA – crowd sourcing a new credit card and building a community around it, gaining feedback from consumers on the community and via social networks once it was set up.
  • Eurail -set up dedicated Facebook and Twitter team to answer travel questions to consumers in several languages
  • GT Bank – A Nigerian bank, banking via Facebook

Panel: Building Sustainable Relationships through Social Media 

scrm13 panel building

photo by Liliana Holloway

The discussion asked: How can we move beyond grasping for likes and shares and superficial engagement to start  building real relationships with customers? Ben Kay, EE, highlighted the challenge: “Are we actually engaging or are we using social as a cheap broadcasting platform?”

The panel discussed the need to not be boring, to evolve with your community and be authentic on social. They reiterated – social is very transparent and mistakes, fakeness and condescension is easy to spot. Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, Lithium: “people value relationships based on honesty, if you make a mistake admit it – be open and transparent.” You need to know your customer to provide good service – make it personal.

Martin Hill-Wilson – “if you want to sustain a relationship you have to be interesting enough for people to want to come back! If you’re going to deliver great service you need people who are passionate about being authentic, interesting and delivering great service.”

Bian Salins – Creating a Social Business at NOW TV



In Bian’s talk she explained how, from the very beginning, they integrated social into everything at NOW TV, Sky’s new online streaming service. They started at the top – with integrating social into business functions. She admitted that starting a social business from scratch with solid backing and resources behind them was a big opportunity.

They found that customers have such a large choice of streaming that, for them, brand loyalty seemed to be dead. So how did they encourage customers to stay using the service? As Bian put it: “What if marketing became more helpful and engaging – like service! Service at NOW TV is more engaging and marketing is more caring.”

Managing relationships with Brand Fans and Superfans, Nico Henderijckx, Sony 

Nico talked about how Sony Europe services it’s large community of fans using a small group of super-fans. 50% of Sony Europe’s support budget is spent on their super users: they give them new tech, invite them to events and even take them on special educational trips. Read our more detailed account of Sony’s Superfans here. At Sony top executives spend time talking to and listening to their super users. This helps with understanding customer perceptions.The peer-to-peer forum has an 85% solve rate and most complex problems are solved faster than on the telephone.

Marmarati Case Study – We Are Social – Tom Ollerton from Our Social Times

Tom Ollerton from We Are Social talked through a campaign for Unilever’s Marmite that brought together lovers, serious fanatical lovers, of Marmite to form the ‘Marmarati.’ Originally it started 3 years ago to launch Marmite XO, an aged version of Marmite, which was launched solely through social media. They invited bloggers, influential ‘foodies’ and brand fans to try the new product at a secret location. 3 years after this, Marmite XO was relaunched and rebranded. We Are Social took that opportunity to deepen the membership of the Marmarati and invite them along for another event and open it up to new members.

New membership was only for really hardcore fans – who could prove it. They had to prove themselves worthy by completing challenges- photographing Marmite, crafting with Marmite, cooking and poetry and song. They received 1888 entries (though Facebook), and other fans of their Facebook page voted, and 300 new members were sworn in to the Marmarati.

The result of 3 campaigns, over around 4 years, means that Unilever now has a database of Marmite fanatics as well as an extremely engaged community on Facebook – ready to accept new challenges and learn about new products. The Marmarati now even meet separately to events held by Unilever.
Discussion: Breaking down the Social Facade between Internal and External Media
Hosted by Guy Stephens (Managing Consultant at IBM), our panel talked through the challenge of organisations being too “socially” closed versus the risk of being too open. Thomas Messett (Nokia) commented that companies should “stop trying to be a ‘social business’ and try to generate value for their customers instead’.
While it may be ideal to have internal and external communities engaging through the same systems – the concern highlighted was that trying to combine external social networks and internal networks was difficult, as they have different aims and expectations. The importance of internal social networks was argued – but also (surprisingly at a social media conference) questioned, “Do employees really need to use an internal network when they have email?”
Mat Morrisson (Starcom MediaVest Group) had the final word: “People rarely do what you expect them to do”, hinting that inefficiencies in internal social networks are inevitable without in-depth research and testing.


Improving the Customer Experience with each Social Interaction, Ronan Gillen, eBay

The final talk of the day was from Ronan Gillen (eBay) who talked through their customer service strategy – how they improve customer experience through each interaction on social media. eBay takes the approach that if customers are having conversations about eBay – problems or questions – then eBay should be there to help. Ronan’s team was originally created for marketing, but over the last 2 years they have evolved into a support team. Interestingly, 24% of eBay customers want social media as their only support channel.


And that was the day – thanks to all our fantastic speakers, attendees, tweeters and sponsors. We’ll be holding the event again next year. See the live blog from Call Centre Focus and StrategyEye. Michelle Goodall also summed up in a Storify page here (thank you!).

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