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Using an ERMS system to listen to Social Media

Social Media is a word that seems to be ubiquitous at the present time. Much is said of how this form of communication is revolutionizing how information is exchanged. Modern-day enterprises are only figuring out now on how to harness this source of data.

One of the strategies that an Enterprise can use is to use Social Media as a channel to “listen” to what customers are talking of their products and services. This post talks about a strategy and concept of how a CRM system could be integrated with Social Media and of the restrictions that this approach presents, albeit allowing for a first insight into this emerging communication channel.

This post is a concept / thought paper. It is not subject to any license agreement with SAP. The concept outlined below is not intended to be binding upon SAP to any course of business / product strategy and / or development. This is subject to change and may be changed by SAP at any point in time. SAP assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this document.

Most CRM systems, including SAP CRM provide a solution for E-Mail Response Management, called ERMS. Such a system typically has one or more incoming E-Mail addresses that customers can write to, to get a response from an Enterprise.

Most Social Media systems, such as Twitter or Facebook, provide a limited amount of Notification capabilities to an e-mail address. Note the stress on the word limited, as this is what it was designed to be, however, these Notifications allow crucial pieces of information to flow to an E-Mail (Other channels, such as SMS are also supported for certain notification types)

Take the case that an Enterprise sets up an account on Facebook or Twitter, where they intend to listen to consumers who are active on this site. Wouldn’t it be great if an Organization / Enterprise could see, in their standard CRM software important tweets (say direct responses) or posts specifically directed to the Enterprise and also act upon them directly from CRM, potentially in an automated way?

The figure below outlines just such a scenario that can be setup with SAP CRM: 

Connecting Social Media to ERMS 

 The generic steps to setup such a system is as per the below:

  1. Setup the Social Media System Account that recieves notifications to an incoming ERMS E-Mail address.
  2. A customer posts on Facebook / Twitter / Other Social Media system that triggers a Notification to an ERMS system
  3. The ERMS system invokes it’s rules to route the e-mail to a service agent / Interaction Center Agent, who can then see this in their Inbox.

So far, so good, as the diagram shows, but, here is where we can bring together the world of unstructured content via E-Mail (Also potentially the Twitter Feed or content that is received from A Social Media site over a mail) to the structured world of SAP CRM.

The true power of CRM is in structured data handling. The true power of expression over Social Media is that it is unstructured, free flowing text. The piece of software that translates this unstructured text to a structured format, consisting of:

  • Topics of discussion
  • Sentiment analysis of the Content

is a powerful tool that comes in the form of Business Objects Text Analytics Engine, which is based on a linguistic corpus, that can be customized to an industry and language, that can be sent a piece of text, such as:

“SAP CRM is a tool that is just superb at handling all of my requirements”

(I am biased, for sure) and out you may get (Based on how you model the Corpus, a linguistic basis for analysis over NLP):

  • Sentiment: Very Positive
  • Topic: CRM
  • Topic: SAP

This categorization of topics in a structured way can now allow an ERMS system to write rules on the elements of the structure. For example,

If the Sentiment was “Very Negative”, create a Service Request and direct this to a Service Representative to respond to.

You might ask, what of the rest of the functions that come with ERMS: Say, of determining a Contact Person for the created Service Request, or of auto-responding and so on. Yes, these are something that could also be done, for example, implement a simple mapping between say, a Twitter ID and a Business Partner and create a Partner Determination process that looks this up to give a partner, if not found create one. Of course, if no e-mail details are known, an auto-response cannot work over the e-mail channel, but then, one can always do a direct response to Twitter for example to the id of the user that posted the Tweet as an example.

This approach is however, a very limited type of integration that one can do with the Social Media sites, the real power is a much deeper integration into overall scenarios that include Service, Sales and Marketing over Social Media.

Sounds like Science Fiction ? Not really, an example of Sentiment analysis integration for Twitter Feeds into SAP CRM and CRM processes is part of our Ecohub offering:

If this has your appetite whetting for more, more articles are on their way…Let me know of what you think…

Connecting Social Media to ERMS
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