Customers shouldn’t exist in social media and therefore CRM and now Social CRM are both terminologies that need some polishing the least. The current terminology is not something I personally believe in. I believe in being friends with somebody, having a relationship (often platonic) with somebody and to help somebody in solving his or her problems. CRM (and Social CRM) aren’t about friends, nor is this about real relations, it is about customers. A customers is a transactional thing, it is something that buys something from you, something that does something with your products, if there is no transaction or product, there is no customer, or as Merriam-Webster defines it:
one that purchases a commodity or service
A friend however is always there, also when you are not talking about products, services, purchases or transactions. It is about being connected, about having something in common, share certain things, and foremost it is not about transactions, it is about having a relation. Merriam-Webster puts this as:
one attached to another by affection or esteem
So are customers sustainable? You’ll lose them if there are no transactions or when there are commodities or services to less. If you lose them, then there is nothing to manage. Why can’t enterprises stop treating the customer as somebody who is just one transaction away, why shouldn’t enterprises focus on getting friends. If you are not my friend, I will never be your customer, unless you are the only one selling the product I need. Friends are there in the long run and can help you in more than just making transactions happen.
If the an enterprise doesn’t turn its customers into friends within the next few years, it most likely can close it doors since it won’t have enough revenue to exist. Having friends is more important than having customers. If you have enough friends there will be enough transactions in the end to ensure your organisation will survive. No you might not get really rich anymore from selling your products and services, however gardeners don’t get really rich either, they just are able to do the thing they like and they get paid for it.