A friend asked me yesterday what the differences were between different Customer Service, CRM and Social CRM

Customer Service Vs CRM

Customer Service is the interaction between a customer and the company, usually via traditional channels like phone or email. Usually the customer will have an issue or some sort of request that needs resolving.  The person could be a prospective or current customer.

CRM is the strategic process implemented to maintain and retain the customer long term.  This relationship development process is designed to improve customer retention rates, thus reducing churn, increasing profitability and reducing the need to focus so heavily on new business for revenue growth.

Customer Service via Social Media Vs Social CRM

Customer Service delivered through Twitter or Facebook or any other socmed platform is essentially the same as a call or an email except that the interaction is public. The idea is your customers are talking about you whether you like it or not. You can chose to ignore and plod away while your competition has listened, reacted and claimed your customer. Or you can be where your customers are and enable them to engage with you how they want to.

On one side Social Media can act as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff catching people with service failures before they actually jump ship. Many time we see tweets like “On the phone with xyz company, totally useless, spent hours on the phone, FAILED”. But with out Social media companies would not have this opportunity to save the day.

On the other hand Social media could be used as a first line of defense. Catching people making comments before they contact the call center or before the issue escalates beyond repair.

Social CRM in my mind is about customer retention in an environment that the customer feels comfortable in. Social CRM is also about issue prevention or issue intervention before the issue is escalated so it has a duel purpose.

So to sum up I feel Customer service interactions are those support opportunities to solve a customers problem. Social CRM is about nurturing enduring customer relationships within social platforms where the customer feels comfortable communicating and interacting with you.

Customer Service is about NOW. Social CRM is about the future.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this correct or do you have a different take on it?