Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lets not "360 degree view of the customer" all over again

As we bring the Benefits of Social to Business Flows we risk overwhelming users with information or under serving them with “minimum common denominator” vanilla views that have no value for anybody.

Full disclosure: Sameer Patel recently wrote the post “Feeds and Mullets” which resonated strongly with me; I risk saying the same that Sameer wrote in that post but with other words and yet I decided to go ahead and publish this, but I want to make sure you know Sameer was the originator of the idea (if you ask me, saying the same in other words is a key added value of curation).

When  SFA, Customer Service Systems, Support Systems began to converge one of the key touted values was to achieve a “360 degree view of the customer” the concept was to give any functional area across a company a comprehensive understanding of the relationship of that customer with the organization as a whole; Service could be aware of sales opportunities in progress and be extra careful about caring for a customer that was about to sign on a big contract and Sales could understand the history of issues someone may have had with a previously acquired product and consider that information as they approached the customer for an upgrade. Clearly this is a valid and valuable concept, but to be honest I cringed at the idea because I knew the key was going to be to get the implementation right... which we didn’t, at least not in the first few tries. Sure enough: the first few incarnations of the “360 degree view of the customer” basically approached things as “all get the same” that would either translate to: the depth I need on some specific data is missing or difficult to reach because I need to have a vanilla view that works for everybody, or (even worse) we all get all the data all the time and we are continuously exposed to this firehose of information which have us at risk of missing something small and important for us.

I have said before Social needs to learn from CRM past lessons; if we just to pick on the devices that have made Social so successful in the and attractive in the C2C space (Newsfeeed, UGC, Co-Creation, Sharing, Follow, etc.) and force fit those to Business Flows we risk going over the early “360 degree view of the customer” issues all over again. Instead we need to understand how, where and for what roles are these “devices” applicable and proceed with caution.

What do you think?

Filiberto Selvas

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