Home This Week in Social CRM: SugarCRM Goes Mobile, Sprout Adds Locations, Zoho Adds a Helpdesk and More

This Week in Social CRM: SugarCRM Goes Mobile, Sprout Adds Locations, Zoho Adds a Helpdesk and More

Social CRM remains the hottest topic in the world of enterprise 2.0 (or social business or whatever people want to call it this week). This week saw several developments in the space, and some interesting conversations as well. Paul Greenberg talked a bit about the what and why of social CRM at Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, several vendors made new announcements and IT blogger Max J. Pucher gave social CRM a much-needed reality check.

Paul Greenberg: I Want to be Engaged Not Managed

CRM expert Paul Greenberg gave a keynote at Enterprise 2.0 on social CRM. Sameer Patelquoted him saying “I want to be engaged not managed.” Information Week has a write-up on his talk.

This essay by Greenberg is an excellent introduction to the topic.

SugarCRM Launches Mobile Edition, Twitter Monitoring Tool and More

SugarCRM had several announcements this week, inlcuding:

  • An iOS App – SugarCRM’s official iOS client is now available in the App Store. Previously, SugarCRM was available mobilely via this third-party app.
  • Twitter Connector – SugarCRM released a Twitter monitoring tool called Twitter Connector, bringing it more fully into the social CRM space. The Twitter Connector compliments an existing line of Cloud Connectors, such as one for LinkedIn.
  • Qontext SupportQontext (pronounced “context”), like SocialText Connect, creates activity streams from existing enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM systems, and aggregates them on a single portal page. SugarCRM joined Salesforce.com in supporting Qontext this week.

Zoho Launches Help Desk SaaS

Zoho added yet another offering to its suite this week: Zoho Support, a SaaS help desk that takes on Zendesk and other hosted help desks. Zoho Service will have an open API and integrate directly with Zoho CRM. It doesn’t have Zendesk’s Twitter integration yet, and Zoho has made no mention of adding social monitoring to its tool set. But I think the customer service component of the “social CRM” strategy to be extremely important, so this is a welcome development.

Sprout Adds Support for Foursquare and Gowalla

Social monitoring tool Sprout Social added support for Foursquare and Gowalla this week. The company’s announcement notes that “additional analytics tools, enhanced message scheduling, and other productivity updates” were added as well. Our previous coverage of Sprout can be found here and here. It’s also worth noting the company closed another round of funding from Lightbank this week, emphasizing the continued interest in this space.

Max J. Pucher Takes Social CRM to the Woodshed

If you’re sick of vendor hype about social CRM, or pretty much anything else, you’re not alone: this week IT blogger Max J. Pucher tore into social media hype . Here are two particularly important excerpts:

How can anyone think that I will be a happier customer because a flight attendant greets me by reading my name from a list after I spent an unacceptable time waiting at check in? […]

So will a social CRM strategy improve anything? No, because in most businesses there is not even empowerment of the employees that need to deal with the now socially empowered customers. There is not even a common customer record. Most businesses are still internally in CONTROL mode and they want to expand it by means of BPM. Now many want to expand BPM into the CRM customer interaction to assert more control over the relationship. Is that empowerment or is that in any way Social? I don’t see it. The marketing department wants to expand its INFLUENCE mode by using predictive analysis to trick customers into spontaneous buying. Some even pretend to be social, much in line with lame Corporate Social Responsibility marketing.

Pucher goes on to emphasize the need to empower customer service to provide real value to customers, citing his experience with the Apple Store as compared with a T-Mobile retail outlet:

My iPhone4 was broken, but within the service contract they replaced it with a new one in 24 hours by courier. At the T-Mobile shop the replacement of a phone takes at least SIX WEEKS! The clerk says: ‘Those are the rules.’

I’m not quite sure he hits the mark though: how exactly is “empowering” that T-Mobile clerk going to change anything? T-Mobile needs to improve its ability to replace to replace phones, not the clerk’s ability to bend the rules for one customer.

And that’s part of the problem with social CRM as a cure-all for business. I don’t want a company to give me special treatment because I complain on Twitter and have a lot of followers. I want a company to get the customer experience part right in the first place.

Photo by kioan

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