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I’ve had many an executive ask me, “What exactly can we do with social CRM, besides field customer complaints and solve problems?” I usually tell them they’ve already discovered the two key use cases, but there are about 21 more to go, and we better keep moving if they ever want to sell the customer anything. They usually ask me to elucidate all 23 of them right there, in their office. To do this would take about five hours, and most executives don’t actually have that much time.

In early 2010, Jeremiah Owyang and Ray Wang, two sharp ex-Forrester analysts (if analysts in this space were rock stars, these guys would be Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), who were working at Altimeter Group at the time, wrote an amazing white paper called, “The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM, the New Rules of Relationship Management.”

As comprehensive and wonderful as the white paper is, I think the authors actually missed five use cases that I would add. I also argued with, modified, and updated a number of their suggestions. What you’re getting in this chapter through Chapter 10 is just about everything you can do with Social CRM.

The key slide from that white paper is shown in Figure 4.1 (with my edits—the extra five cases), and it identifies what I think are all of the use cases of Social CRM—there’s a lot of them. To say that Owyang and Wang’s white paper is the first highly regarded and important white paper on Social CRM wouldn’t be fair to three or four other analysts or consultants who have also done great work in this area since 2008. This research is simply the best breakdown of the market demand and technical maturity of the use cases of Social CRM. If white papers were rock albums, however, Owyang and Wang’s would be the Rolling Stones’ Out of Our Heads—everything before it laid out the tools, but this one shows you exactly what you can actually do with them.

In fact, my only minor criticism of the entire white paper is that the use cases lack anecdotal examples. (Probably to make it seem more impartial—not a bad thing!) What you see in Figure 4.1 is a listing of the 23 use cases of Social CRM. We’re going to begin by analyzing Social Customer Insights—it’s the first of the 23 use cases, and it’s a big one, so big it has five different parts: Monitoring, Mapping, Middleware, Management, and Measurement. This is the numero-uno high-level use case of Social CRM. The other ones (numbers 2 through 23) are definitely valid and completely useful, but they’re more street-level, as they’re the ones that would actually be executed by the members of your company’s departmental teams. (Technically, yes, you can use 2 though 23 without doing number 1, but I wouldn’t recommend it.)

Figure 4.1, The 23 Use Cases of Social CRM

As you can see in Figure 4.1, Social Customer Insights is the core foundation of all Social CRM use cases. It’s the top-level use case, and it breaks down into five categories (the Five Ms mentioned above), that form the baseline use cases. These are the use cases that can cut across multiple departments or even business units. Use Cases 2 through 23 are much more discrete, and will usually be executed by smaller teams within each business unit. Often, more than one use case is happening at once. What we saw in Jane’s AT&T example in Chapter 3 was one use case from the Sales category, (8, Rapid Social Sales Response) and one use case from the Service and Support category (14, Rapid Social Response).

Ed. note: This is part of a series of excerpts from The Social Customer, the new guide to social customer acquisition, monetization, and retention by Adam Metz. For the first entry, go here.

This installment comes from Chapter 4: Social Customer Insights and an Introduction to the 23 Use Cases of Social CRM. Adam reference checks another seminal document in SCRM, and another rock band.