Social CRM and user discipline on social networks

Social CRM and user discipline on social networks

Ash was taking her first flight and was visibly excited. She had heard a lot of stories – some good, some scary - from her friends who had flown before and wanted to leave no stone unturned to make the experience as wonderful as it possibly could be.

"Any chance I can get an upgrade to first class?" she enquired eagerly. The check-in agent responded with patience, "I'm sorry, we have a full flight today" before his tone picked up, "But I can get you something that might please you!" Ash wasn't sure what to expect, but hey, who would turn down free stuff?

"I see your friend John Strange is also on the same flight. Let me give you a seat right next to him", the young man smiled as he keyed in something at the terminal. Ash's eyes opened wide as she gasped, "John who?"

The check-in agent's smile became wider as he sensed the opportunity to show off some of the airline's new technology. He motioned for her to move closer and lean across the counter while he showed her. The airline had recently integrated social networking analytics into its CRM strategy and the software had given them some wonderful insights into customer behavior. While Ash's Facebook wall proudly proclaimed the news of her first flight, her "friend" Mr. Strange had by sheer coincidence booked himself on the same flight for a business trip! To the airline, or any business with a good CRM strategy, this was an opportunity to increase customer delight: who wouldn't like to sit next to a friend on a long flight?

"Is everything all right, ma'am?" the agent was confused why Ash did not seem too pleased as he handed her the boarding pass. Ash paused for a moment before explaining, "I do not know who this man John Strange is. I certainly do not want to sit next to him on my first flight!" The agent protested, showing her his picture on her friends list as well as the two mutual friends they shared. Ash was now furious. John Strange wasn't the only person on her list whom she barely knew in real life, but she hadn't anticipated such an introduction.

As it turned out, John Strange was not a particularly dangerous person. Ash was just one of the attractive young ladies who had accepted his Facebook friend request without ever meeting him in person. He hadn't expected to meet her on the flight that day either. And Ash certainly wasn't alone, when it came to realizing that irresponsibly handling one's personal social network profile can lead to bitter consequences in the digitally connected world.

The CRM strategy of many businesses today includes collection of customer data from social networks. Anything you post, like or share on these platforms will be interpreted as insights into your buying preferences and/or indicators of your habits. Such customization is in heavy demand by consumers and drives several purchase choices in the market today. But that means you need to be as careful on social networks these days as you typically are in your daily real world life.

Several controls exist to protect your privacy, but accepting a friend request from a stranger neutralizes them all and exposes you to several threats in your online social life! Anything you discuss with a stranger is a key to gain access to your identity – or worse, several aspects of your life. Just because you don't know someone does not mean that you are a stranger to him/her.

Ash had learned her lesson. She resolved to put to good use the time she would be waiting at the airport for her flight. A dozen of her Facebook 'contacts' – she refused to call them friends anymore – were going to be booted out right away. She could not risk being so conspicuous in a world where she took privacy for granted.

"Have a safe flight, madam", the check-in agent remained cheerful as he handed Ash a fresh boarding pass. Looking her in the eye, he cautioned, "And please remain safe on Facebook too. By the way, please accept my friend request!" 
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Monday, 29 May 2017

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