CRM 1.0 has been a series of processes, technologies, and methodologies organized around the operational tasks that were designed to institutionalize a way of managing customer-company interaction.
CRM 2.0, while incorporating what CRM 1.0 does, also incorporates the personalization of those customer-company interactions and the integration of the customer into the planning, strategies and direction of the company through use of tools, products, services, and experiences so that the customer feels that they are participating in the companies that they choose to do business with.
CRM 1.0 concerned itself with the customer as the object of a satisfactory sale. CRM 2.0 concerns itself with the customer as the subject of a satisfactory experience.
In their own ways, they both attempt to institutionalize practices that allow better customer-company interaction. Their respective visions are driven by the expectations of the social forces in command of the contemporary business ecosystem of its era (we are narrowing this conversation to just business here regardless of the broader social implications). In the CRM 1.0 days that would be the company and the enterprise value chain associated with it. In the CRM 2.0 days a.k.a. right-this-2008-second that would be the very empowered customer and the peer-to-peer social networks associated with it.
But there is one other facet that can't be ignored for CRM 2.0 - and that is that we're not just talking about personalization, but we're talking about humanization.
What that means is that because the contemporary empowered customer is enmeshed in some way with a network of peers, their expectations are dramatically changed. They are straightforward changes, though. They expect that they can interact with a company the same way that they interact with a friend or a peer who they can trust. That means that they expect a personal relationship to the company, not just to a person in the company, though that may be how the relationship manifests itself a larger number of times. That also means that they expect that the attributes, the characteristics of that deeply personal connection they have to a peer is part of the way that the company interacts with them. That means that trust and transparency have to permeate the company's DNA. That means that the company has to have something distinct about them. That means that the customer is expecting the company to converse with them, not push corporate hype at them. It's why you see contemporary marketing so geared toward buzz and word of mouth and engaging customers in conversation through use of social media like blogs, or engaging internal customers in a valued conversation through a wiki.
Its also why coolness and style are now factors in that conversation between customer and company - because they are intimate parts of the conversation between friends.
This level of humanization is fundamental, but not necessary defining for all companies. While customers have a much more demanding level of expectation, they still simply purchase things in a utilitarian fashion from a plurality of companies they deal with, and they don't have that level of expectation from any particular company that they interact with like that. They treat the company as the (the shoe is on the other foot) object of a purchase. But the state devoutly to be desired by the company is not just the repeat purchaser, though that's certainly good, but the advocate who is going to say, "this company loves me the way I love it." So they have to gear their strategies toward getting that kind of customer (whether B2C or B2B, dammit) and settle for the customer who merely returns to buy.
Why I'm Even Writing This
This is my usual long winded highly conceptual way of talking about something that is important to me. But first a little longer, higher speed wind (take that any way you want). As y'all know, I'm not exactly unopinionated. I tend to be pretty passionate about what I write and I make it REAL clear whether I like what a company is doing or dislike what a company is doing. If I sense injustice, I go after it. If I think a company has done something good, despite my prior dislike of their actions, I say it and I make the necessary turn. I have no gripe against individuals unless they act in a mean spirited way and then I'll go after them. But all in all, I have no particular love or hatred of a company per se - just their actions get me hot - either in a good way or a bad way.
Edelman Trust Index
Some of you may have heard of the Edelman Trust Index - a measure of what kind of characteristics govern whom and how you trust. The most common trusted source for the contemporary soul is "someone like me." I trust those who are most similar to me. That would ideally suit a company that does it right too. Not only has the company provided me with what I need to sculpt my version of a relationship with it, but I actually see that the company's culture is "like me" and that they are able to institutionally reproduce that state - meaning if someone at the company who I've been dealing with who I feel a kinship to, leaves, though I would miss that person and perhaps continue my relationship to them outside the company, I would still not have a diminished relationship with or feeling about that company.
The True Subject: Neighborhood America
All right. All that said, I'm now going to get on with it, because, even with my vendor-agnosticism a constant suit of emotional armor for me and my willingness to judge vendor companies, not by only their culture, but their actions - and to do that both universally and discretely, I have to admit there is one company that has reached that exalted state of piercing my armor - that I actually have that peer-to-peer institutional relationship as well as a number of personal friendships and warm acquaintances. That would be Neighborhood America. But I'm going to make you wait until later this week for the why that company fits this concept, because I REALLY want to post this blog entry and that's gonna take me some time. Consider this part 1.