From clients to processes. The marriage between Social CRM and Adaptive Case Management

As some have correctly pointed out commenting on the recent post on Social Business, despite the potential of the path that more and more organizations have undertaken, the complexity of this ongoing change should not be underestimated. While not claiming to already have all the answers, I will share some reflections on the possible direction I see ahead.

Let’s go back to unified Social CRM process and to the experience continuum (inspired by Esteban Kolsky ), which represents a concise overview of the former:

Now superimpose on this model my definition of Social Business. In the last paragraph we said that:

In a nutshell … a Social Business is a company that consciously decides to gain an osmotic relationship with its environment and that is able to constantly recalibrate itself based on the stimuli intercepted.

Social CRM / Business Social exist only if there are mechanisms to systematically intercept signals from the customers (and the entire ecosystem) and turn them into better products and processes, ensuring that new experiences are more responsive to customer expectations (and the entire ecosystem’s expectations).

The obvious question then is: how an organization conceptually and operationally can intercept, understand, process and transform external signals into a seamless mechanism to improve both processes and outcomes? Combining Social CRM and Adaptive Case Management.

Building on what Laurence Buchanan of Capgemini recently shared (here you can find his post and picture), I have prepared the following diagram (click to enlarge):

What does it mean?

  • The model relies on three phases of use of external signals: conversations, insights and actions. Leveraging on tools to interact and listen to conversations within community of users, then on their analysis and classification in order to extract indications aimed to drive actions and finally adaptive approaches and emerging trends in internal processes, informal exchanges constantly stimulate the improvement of products and services
  • Filtering and understanding conversations. Interactions between users are filtered and processed in three steps: through the answers from other users, through a sentiment analysis, through a context analysis. Once you have enabled pull (bottom-up, emergent) dynamics in a community, the same members will be able to help and provide answers to their peers. In these cases, the company typically limits itself to observe and learn. Sometimes the conversations (eg, malfunctions, failures, criticism but also positive feedbacks)  require some synchronous or asynchronous reaction by the brand.  When this happens, the sentiment analysis tries to separate the “good talk” from the “ill speak”, while semantic analysis attempts to reconstruct the meaning in order to classify the message (eliminating false positives, separating different meanings and to define the profile author) for future use. All interactions, regardless of the channel, are basically mapped to the user profile in the CRM.
  • From conversations to insights. Through the filtering, each individual message is placed in context in terms of the weight of its author (relevance), the extent of his network (reach), the number of times that similar messages were recorded (frequency), the potential impact it can have on the business (here is a manual tagging). These and other parameters are used to define business rules. For example, if the message is negative, it has a low frequency and the author is an influencer (high importance and high reach) then you must respond quickly. Who is in charge of that? it depends on the topics that emerged during the analysis. If this is a problem with the service, the it will be sent to customer care. The segmentation of the author and the quality of the message help to optimize the effort, putting in place different SLAs (service level agreements) for different targets.
  • From insights to continuous improvement. Beyond the individual actions that can be implemented through business rules, there are two major areas of response: The pseudo-manual 1-to-1 response and the potential improvement of the process. In the reactive response, that should be anyway supported by internal communities / knowledge bases and always stored inside the CRM, a company representative investigates the case at hand and provides an individual response to the client. The response is made as much as possible visible to other customers but it does not cause impacts on the inner workings of the company. When a particular business rule (eg. a trigger on the frequency and impact of a problem, even in the face of little relevance and reach of the author) brings to light areas where products and services must be reviewed, what the company needs is a real evolution of the internal processes. In this domain of intensively knowledge based flows, variable human actors, hardly predictable actions  (Barely Repeatable Processes), rather than processes we are facing a “template of action” guided by specific objectives and deliverables. Eg. after 100 reports about a not enough easy to use online service, you may want to act and change the service or after 1000 reports on the lack of responsiveness to phone calls, you may want to revise the organization. This is the realm of  Adaptive Case Management , an approach aimed at enabling business users to design their own (without involving developers, web services, IT)  templates of actions (the cases) during their normal activities. The system automatically brings out improvements in case management, starting from use not from upfront design. The Adaptive Case Management is a very interesting domain that bridges the gap between structured processes and the optimization of knowledge work. I’ll write again about Its importance and the difference with BPM in the near future.
  • From adaptive improvement to the optimization of core processes. Finally, in some cases, the improvement involves one of the central processes that automate the operations of the business, such as the provisioning of a service, the production of furniture involving partners, suppliers and employees. Here Adaptive Case Management still allows you to investigate the problem in a more structured manner, identifying the right solution and then launching a review of traditional mechanisms in BPM. Separating the emergent level from the strictly procedural top-down approach allows you to provide more flexibility for individuals but especially more responsiveness and lower costs to the company, given that putting your hands on BPM is a bit like developing a new application with all the steps and time needed for requirements analysis, design, development, testing, etc..

To recap this long post it is interesting to note that, although the technological support is not the only or even the major issue to be addressed here, there are already tools to implement all of this (although there is no single solution at the moment). Tracing the flow, in addition to the classic BPM and CRM tools we have:

  • Community tools (Jive, Telligent, Bluekiwi, Lithium, etc)
  • Social media monitoring and sentiment analysis tools ( Radian6SysomosAttensity360 , etc)
  • Tools for Social analytics as Attensity Analyze
  • Adaptive Solutions Case Management as Papyrus Adaptive Case Management or Thingamy

What do you think?

This post is also available in: Italian

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Emanuele Quintarelli

Social media enthusiast and Social Enterprise Leader in EY. Research, reports and reflections about the introduction of web 2.0 inside the enterprise.

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