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Abstract

Some researchers predict a paradigm shift within Customer Relationship Management (CRM), moving from the traditional large in-house CRM systems to social software such as Facebook. In this article we investigate two issues. First: are there inherent problems in traditional CRM systems that Facebook may resolve? Second: if so, can social media replace CRM systems? We conducted a case study of two Scandinavian airliners’ use of Facebook for customer communication during the ash crisis in April 2010. Our analytical approach was a Business Intelligence analysis using web- and text mining based on 28.000 postings on Facebook. We offer two findings. First, Facebook resolves some shortcomings of traditional CRM. The openness of Facebook allows for more dynamic interaction between company and customers. Facebook has a self-reinforcing mechanism for diffusion, meaning that short-term usefulness triggers more use, which again will increase the usefulness. Second, we do not believe that social media can replace traditional CRM systems, but it constitutes an interesting challenge. If not a full CRM, Facebook can serve as a “social CRM”. In contrast to traditional CRM, companies may not be the strongest part, since personal information is controlled by the customer. This is indeed an interesting arena for researchers.

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