In the process of working on The Emergence of The Relationship Economy, we had the pleasure to meet and collaborate with Cluetrain Manifesto coauthor and social media visionary Doc Searls. Besides writing a terrific foreword to our book, Doc has also been working with my business partner and coauthor Jay Deragon on several initiatives, including Doc’s Project VRM.
VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management, and here’s how Doc describes it:
Project VRM is a research and development project of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Its purpose is to study and support the development of tools that provide customers with both independence from, and engagement with, vendors. Think of VRM as the way customers relate to vendor CRM (customer relationship management) systems.
Simple concept, profound implications. The past decade since the publication of Cluetrain, we have been moving closer and closer to the point that the customer is really the one in charge of the relationship, not the vendor. Social media is enabling this in new and powerful ways.
The latest issue of Business Week focuses on this new era of customer service, including a great piece, “Consumer Vigilantes“, which recounts several stories of frustrated consumers using blogs, YouTube and other social media to publicly vent (and in most cases, eventually get their problem addressed).
Want to learn more? Next Thursday, February 28, Jay and Doc will be presenting a free webcast on The Impact of Social Media on Selling. You don’t want to miss this!