Not long ago, a colleague of mine mentioned eCRM rather nonchalantly in a conversation. At the time, I didn’t think to ask him what it meant, because this is one of those people in the field who just propagates horrible buzzwords by throwing them around flippantly.
It wasn’t until a few days later, when asked by another colleague what eCRM meant, that I had to declare I really didn’t know. I expected it to either be a buzzword, or to be some new kind of CRM technology (different from the ground up), or to be a specific software title like Salesforce or Siebel.
No, it’s neither, and it’s more annoying.
A Brief Definition:
Well, there’s a lot of debate about what this means, but most agree that it’s CRM practices where digital communications are part of the process. This means things like social networks, email, chat systems, SMS texts and other things, along with traditional things like telephones, mail and faxes.
That’s really all this means.
So, what the heck more can I possibly say about this beyond maybe talking about how this simply does not even need to be a term?
The Real Facts:
The truth is that most businesses, be it with B2B or B2C communications, have been using digital communications mediums for over a decade, and it’s standard practice in the industrial world.
Nobody, by definition, isn’t using eCRM right now. So, I don’t really understand why a special term is necessary to differentiate this practice from the maybe one company on the entire planet which isn’t adopting digital methodologies for transactions, communications and marketing.
Analog communications systems are rapidly fading into obsolescence, and it’s actually a good thing, as these old communications systems are ancient and barbaric. This means that CRM will probably be replaced by this concept with a new definition of strictly digital.
But, I don’t think this terminology is going to last. This term came along too late, really. By the time people started using it, people had long ago adopted digital communications both as customers and as businesses, so there was no longer a need for any differentiation.
If anything, it’s CRM handled with no digital communication that needs a special term, as it’s a rare and archaic thing that is not recommended to be pursued in this new century.
Digital communications are more convenient, easier to log, and much more reliable and comfortable to work with. Social networks, email, and other communications mediums like this are less time-sensitive and more enduring. Someone can post or email any time of the day or night, and not need to worry about bothering someone after hours or the like.
Since CRM is all about maintaining this data accurately, and automating communications, analog methodologies just run counter to what CRM is all about these days as well.
It’s beneficial for all for digital to be the way all things are handled which can be handled over an intangible medium like that.
So, eCRM is just CRM as it’s done these days, and it’s a bit of a pointless distinction. But now we know what it is, so we can all chuckle when people use it like it really means anything special!