Active Support and Social CRM in Modern Business

An emerging trend in the business world is the application of Social CRM, or Social Customer Relationship Management, to day-to-day business activities. Within this broad category lies a more specific field of customer relationship management called Active Support. Active Support refers to the utilization of online social networking services in the handling of customer service and technical support. It emerged with the popularization of social media, and is often used in conjunction with more traditional e-mail- and telephone-based customer service.

Basic Concept

Active Support is carried out on online social networking sites. An entity creates a profile, and open their public comment space to customers to submit their customer service inquiries. The entity can comment on each inquiry, and the exchange is carried out much like any other customer service call. New submissions can be seen by anyone, leaving the exchange in a very public domain. The exchanges can also be used to improve the image of a company, should it perform exceptional service in front of an Internet audience.

Public Nature

A unique aspect of Active Support is its public nature. In most cases, previous inquiries are left public and searchable, allowing customers with identical issues to resolve their issues without contacting the provider. The public nature, however, also requires the provider to exercise caution when answering in order to avoid mistakes or PR incidents.


Whereas phone and e-mail services might cost a company to maintain, Active Support systems are typically based on free, existing social networking services, and no cost is incurred by the company or customer.


As it is Internet-based, Active Support is not subject to telephone network issues or congestion. It is subject to Internet service outages, however.

In Businesses

Several companies have adopted active support in addition to their existing customer service pathways. Companies ranging from UPS and The Home Depot, to Best Buy and Virgin Mobile USA are actively engaging with their customers via Twitter.


One of the most common methods of providing Active Support is by communicating with users via Twitter. Twitter has an advantage in its speed, leaving very little downtime between first contact from the user and connection to a representative of the company. Ideally, the problem can be solved with publicly posted tweets, but in some cases a more in-depth conversation is necessary and can thus be switched to the more traditional channels of phone- or net-based service. Facebook pages can be used in very much the same fashion, but it's typically more difficult to find users with complaints unless they directly post on the company's Facebook page.

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