Just about every guru involved with customer service has something to say about the role of social media, and often imply that companies must participate in social CRM in order to be considered relevant.

Yet interestingly, on more than one occasion, analysts have suggested that companies like ours not use the term “social” or “social CRM” when explaining our technology. Why? It can scare off prospects —particularly those in manufacturing, supply chain, and often field service in general.

So in essence, integration with social avenues such as Twitter is essential in projecting a forward-thinking organization, but… it’s not in our best interest to promote it! How ironic that what’s listed in the analysts’ reports as a strength, can be a vendor’s downfall when actually signing clients.

The funny thing is– they’re right. Often times when we simply mention the word “social”, prospects shut down. They have visions of an uncontrolled world where their service agents are tweeting misinformation to clients, following inappropriate people and companies, and in the end, becoming much less productive than they are today: the exact opposite of their goal.

However, there are two ways customer and field service CRM vendors can be innovative in this space: offer the integration with the social avenues such as Twitter, and use the social techniques and ideas within their actual technology—more like internal social collaboration.

Having one or two people follow Tweets about your organization won’t hurt the bottom line, especially if they have an approval process regarding the company’s response. And, following something – a service ticket, a product, or a customer — like you follow people on Twitter is not a bad idea. Actually, if you’re in manufacturing, supply chain, or even in customer and field service, getting data fed to you based on a product (example: a cracked bearing on product #123), product line, customer, VIP, or type of problem (system down!) is really quite helpful. It may even make your service agents more productive. Such social techniques have wormed their way into the business world, and as we know, will only become more extensive as these next generations pour into the workforce.

So if we have to, let’s rename “social” to “Information Pushed to Your Screen to Make Your Job Easier”. It will be worth it to improve Service Delivery.

For questions or additional information, contact me at kris.brannock@vertsol.com.