With Social Media, Google Ads, and all other ways of doing marketing online, we have reached a point of following playbooks. These contain rules on how many times you should post a day, a week, or what is the best way to increase follower rates. As a consequence, measurement is focused on KPIs, such as follower numbers, engagement or click-through-rates.
Many marketers, however, ignore with all the pull strategy to listen. A reason might be that stopping for a moment to listen does not bring positive, measurable results. Let’s be honest, making noise is just easier to do.
Today we are telling you that due to missing listening mechanisms, crucial information drowns in the abundance of posts, comments, and conversations on the web. These, however, would serve brands to make better decisions for improving customer experience.
But what does it actually mean to “listen” and how does it work for your brand?
Listening is not as easy as it sounds
If someone tells you to take lessons in order to learn to listen effectively, what would your answer be? At first, you might be irritated, and you most probably wonder where this suggestion comes from. You will ask yourself: “Do I seem to be a bad listener?” Later on, when a wave of potential anger has lifted, you will try to understand better what it means to listen.
Definition of Listen:
According to the Cambridge dictionary, listening means “to give attention to someone or something in order to hear him, her, or it.”
Listening is for most people, as usual, as the act of breathing. But is it really that easy? Sure, even if you decide not to listen, you will always process voices subconsciously. But two ears that hear well do not automatically qualify for good listening skills. As effortless it seems, an average listener will remember after two months, only around 25% of a heard speech. Hearing does not equal listening!
Only think about how many failed product launches there have been in the past decade? Many of them, such as the Google Glass, didn’t find appeal because it was not matching consumer’s needs. Furthermore, try to recall the biggest troubles your company had because someone did not hear something or received the message in a modified way.
An average listener will remember after two months, only around 25% of a heard speech.
Listening to your customers online
One of the first opportunities to listen for your brand lead to customer service clerks. However, not always do workers of the customer service department have or take the time to profoundly understand a caller’s need on the other side of the lane. More commonly, solutions get proposed at early stages, as we humans have poor listening skills and think faster than we listen.
As a matter of fact, we manage to speak around 125 words per minute, while only 25% of our mental capacity works when listening to an averagespeaker. But what do the other 75% do? They are thinking about questionsto ask and what they would like to cook tonight. You now might catch yourself thinking of all the times your brain started wandering while participating in a presentation.
Having said this, listening does not only focus on the offline part of our lives but listening takes place also online. Not in the sense of literally hearing a voice, but more in terms of paying attention – as the definition of Cambridge shows – to what is being said. But especially on online channels listening has become quite a chellange.
The invention of the internet caused a shift from one-way dialogue to voice of the customer (VoC). VoC describes your customer’s feedback about her/his customer experience and expectation with your brand and product. It includes wants, needs, expectations as well as likes. It is definitely not a secret that internet users love to share their experiences. 30% of consumers would write a negative review to protect others from making the same bad experience. Moreover, would almost 50% also share a positive review.
Even though consumers nowadays do not always directly interact with a brand, their thoughts are written on the web and thus are easier to access. Nonetheless, listening online states a complicated challenge. On the one hand, do tools allow us getting hold of what is being said outside the walls of a company. On the other hand, everybody has something to say. Without the right listening mechanisms, a high percentage of the conversation about a brand gets lost. Let’s find out why.
Social Media listening & VoC programs
Online tools make it possible to constantly listen. More and more companies are getting aware of social monitoring, with tools such as mention, Sprout Social and their advantage of engaging with individual brand mentions on social media. A step further, there is the strategy of social listening to dig even deeper.
Social media listening helps to monitor and collect real-time all available conversations about your brand, discussions, your industry, and also competitors on social media. These insights will get analysed and make it possible for a company to see the big picture as well as current or developing trends. Accordingly, a brand can make fast improvements to enhance customer experience. While monitoring gives you access to “what”, listening tells you “why”.
An even more holistic approach would be the implementation of a VoC program. In contrast to social media listening, VoC aims at getting a granular understanding of different dimensions: product, service, and location. Data sources – not necessarily in real-time – do not only include social media but among other things, surveys, call center transcripts, or email inquiries. These collected data get analysed and distributed to the right departments and people within an organization to make better decisions for customers from a long-term perspective. Consequently, a VoC program is composed of these three steps:
1. Collection of customer feedback can be given
- directly on the phone to a customer service worker or by leaving a review on your website
- indirectly by talking about your product or brand online without tagging or linking to your company
- derived feedback from collected data from customer behaviour and experience (f.e. purchase history) and transactional as well as operational data
2. Analysis from experts with analytical and/or AI skills
3. Implementation of gained insights into different business dimensions
- Product development
- Customer experience
- Market intelligence
- Brand management
Social Listening has become a crucial tool to understand consumer behaviour and expectations. A moment you don’t pay attention to your customers can let you fall behind your competitors. However, your business should not stop at listening, but see it as a learning process to continually use gained insights for improvement.
Remember that the internet is giving everyone a voice. There will always be something to listen to.