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Going around in circles? The 360 Degree View in an age of Social Media

Companies turn to CRM tools and strategies for many reasons. Typically it's an initiative  that aims to gather more information, thus providing a better service and, hopefully, a loyal customer. It's the often quoted "360 Degree View" mantra. 

Criticisms of such initiatives however, arise when these initiatives focus on what's important to the implementing company, not their customers. The rise of social networks exposes more of these critiques - with two challenges coming to mind.  

First, companies need a way of not just listening in on the social networks but also capturing the information somewhere. A broader picture of a customer is only useful if you can readily access & use the information for useful purposes. Secondly, in a world where social networks span the globe and often set the agendas from the consumer outwards, listening really matters. It's not enough just to capture the information that you deem internally important for processes, etc. You need to understand what to capture and how to use that information.

For me, it's no longer whether social networks matter - they absolutely do. It's now about how a company interacts with these networks and how they manage the information flow. Even though the processes and approaches may be different than previous CRM initiatives, it's all still about creating and retaining loyal customers.