By: Michael McCurdy
People can’t help but let the world know exactly how they feel at any given moment using their handy smart devices. Amused by something? Better turn to Facebook and make a post. Frustrated? Turn to Twitter to complain. But the fact is, these posts are an opportunity to better engage your customers and make smarter business decisions. Social media has become one of the best tools through which to gauge the habits, likes, and dislikes of customers.
Think about it. The last time you logged onto Twitter, was a follower ranting about a company because they spent the last 5 hours on the phone trying to get help? Or maybe a Facebook friend posted a video of their comic flight attendant. Or shared a selfie wearing their favorite brand. You get the picture. Your prospects and customers are talking about you on social. All the time. Sounds a little scary, but it shouldn’t be.
Savvy companies take advantage of social media to listen to these conversations and intervene where necessary to improve the customer experience. This goes beyond simply responding to @ messages or hashtags on Twitter and messages posted directly to your Facebook wall. Social listening takes it a step further and carefully monitors a comprehensive list of keywords that may be associated with conversations about your brand.
For example, one of our recent clients, a large entertainment provider, decided to roll out a streaming service for its broadcast events. There was a huge number of viewers trying to migrate to the new streaming service across multiple types of devices and operating systems, which naturally resulted in a variety of technical questions. Of course this company implemented a typical phone-based customer service solution. But they also put social listening into place with agents actively monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for problems and working with the customers in real-time to solve them.
To put some numbers behind it, Cisco claims a 281% ROI with social listening through Salesforce.com and Radian6. Using a consistent, scalable means of understanding and acting on social conversations, Cisco increased productivity and profits, achieving this impressive return on investment in less than one year.
3 Reasons to Listen
If you still need convincing, here three top advantages of social listening.
Engage your customers.
If you’re actively monitoring consumers’ conversations, it’s easy to insert yourself just when the customer needs you. They have a need, you provide a solution. They have a question, you provide an answer. It’s a zen-like moment. You fit naturally into the conversation and become a welcomed, valuable participant.
Keep tabs on your competition.
Not only can you get a real-time look at how consumers feel about your own brand, but you can also hear what they’re saying about your competition. Take a look at conversations about your competitors and see what they do right, what they do wrong, what customers love and loathe, and consider how you can apply these insights to your own strategy.
Plan your roadmap.
A brand that has its finger on the pulse of the customer knows exactly where to go next. Using the information collected from social listening, you can more effectively position your brand, products, services, etc. Identify what your customer needs or wants and then supply it.
Get It Done
Everyone is talking. Social listening is like having an exclusive wiretap to monitor and record every conversation. Use it to your advantage to enhance the customer experience, stay ahead of the competition and plan your next moves.