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From social media to social customer relationship management

Carolyn Heller Baird (Global CRM Research Leader with the IBM Institute for Business Value, IBM Global Services (
Gautam Parasnis (Partner and Vice President for IBM Global Business Services and the Global CRM Leader (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to present the augment of the authors, who are IBM consultants, that companies need to meld social media programs with customer relationship management (CRM). This new paradigm – Social CRM – recognizes that instead of just managing customers, the role of the business is to facilitate collaborative social experiences and dialogue that customers value.


Social media holds enormous potential for companies to get closer to customers and, by doing so, increase revenue, cost reduction and efficiencies. However, using social media as a channel for customer engagement will fail if the traditional CRM approaches are not reinvented,


According to IBM research, there is a large perception gap between what the customers seek via social media and what companies offer. Consumers are far more interested in obtaining tangible value, suggesting businesses may be confusing their own desire for customer intimacy with consumers' motivations for engaging.

Practical implications

To reinvent the company's CRM strategy it is important to recognize social media is a game changer and the customer is in control; make the customer experience seamless – across social media and other channels; start thinking like a customer – if one isn't sure what customers value, they should be asked; and monetize social media, if that is what customers want.


Social CRM is a new approach that recognizes consumers have strong opinions about relationships as customers being managed in a social media context and that their willingness to engage with companies should not be assumed or taken for granted.



Heller Baird, C. and Parasnis, G. (2011), "From social media to social customer relationship management", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 30-37.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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