The idea of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that can keep itself updated with common information as well as automatically provide you with data about a contact’s Social Media activity is intriguing. The new breed of CRM which is supposed to be able to do this type of thing has been labeled as Social CRM.
I’ve been testing Nimble Social CRM – http://www.nimble.com .
use of social media services, techniques and technology to enable organisations to engage with their customers. As an emerging discipline, interpretations of Social CRM vary, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Paul Greenberg:
Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.
Social CRM is often used as a synonym for Social Media Monitoring, where organisations watch services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for relevant mentions of their product and brand and react accordingly. However, this is too narrow an interpretation, as Social CRM also includes customer communities managed by the organisation themselves.
I spotted Nimble in an online post about their new service. The ability to have an online system automatically seek out social media profiles for your contacts is intriguing. So I set an account up for testing.
Setup of Nimble is very simple. You input your social accounts. I entered Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Then you connect your email – in my case Gmail. As email is received the system makes an attempt to match the sender with your contact list – or if they are not on a contact list the system appears to match them to social media profiles — as described on the Nimble web site:
..identify contact’s social profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter so that you and your team can easily connect, listen, and engage with your most important business associates.
Essentially Social CRM is supposed to save you from having to search and find social media activity and profiles of your contacts. Nimble’s web site claims they’ll automatically find and identify social accounts so that you can gather information from all the various online activities your contacts participate in.
Except in my testing — with an email received from my Mom (who has a Facebook and Google+ account) — the Nimble Social CRM engine was 0 for 4. It appears to have taken what looks like a wild assed guess at my Mom’s Social Media accounts based largely on her name.
Now I understand that these types of matches likely have to be made based upon a common email address or some other link. It’s highly likely that my Mom is using a personal email (which was in the Nimble system already) for social media accounts and not the same email (our company) which she used to send me my sample email.
But isn’t a personal (not business) email how most users setup social media accounts?
How many users take their company address and use it to create Facebook, Twitter or Google+? I’d even recommend that most people not use their company email to create their LinkedIN account.
I’d bet that with more information about my Mom – such as her personal email account – Nimble might have provided me with more accurate information about her social activities. Doesn’t that in some way diminish the purpose of a Social CRM system whose goal seems to be to gather this information magically and without additional user input.
And in this case that does not seem to have occurred and instead of returning a “we couldn’t find anything” the result I’m given is misleading.
What would occur in business if I wasn’t aware that all four of the profiles below were not the Pat Murray that I knew and loved?
Are You My Mom?
According to Nimble my Mom is on Facebook – and she’s grown a mustache:
The profile that Nimble suggests is my Mom on Google+ shows that she’s lost her hair, moved to Michigan and grown a beard:
To find my Mom on LinkedIn Nimble traveled all the way to Ireland where they think my Mom has donned a business suite and tie and opened a tax and accounting business:
On Twitter Nimble suggests I follow my mom’s “dumb drunken thought’s here:
None are even in:
- The same state
- The same sex
- The same age range
What value does Social CRM bring to the table if at best it seems to rely upon wild guesses based on a name lookup?
Nimble is one example of Social CRM. In the past I’ve used other add-ins such as Rapportive for Gmail that claimed to integrate various social accounts of my contacts and in past testing (about a year ago) returned similar uneven results.
Social CRM = great concept but my testing shows it need less sizzle – more steak.