Your customers are talking. They’re tweeting, they’re posting, they’re Yelping, they’re streaming. They’re sending information about themselves and their interests into the world.
You’re probably listening to them using some sort of social listening tool, and that’s a good thing.
The question is, are you making the most of your investment? For most companies, the answer is probably “no.”
For many, social listening quietly settles into the role of a niche solution — a way to know when their brand mentioned in a tweet or a post, or to gain a broad sense of brand-related sentiment.
That needs to change.
Listening can — and increasingly, must — play a fundamental role across several customer-facing operations. Your data could be telling you so much more about how to improve your business.
With today’s listening solutions, companies can go beyond hearing their name mentioned. They can now absorb and analyze a wide range of data to drive strategic business strategies in real time.
Brands can understand how people really feel about them — about their products, their service, their overall reputation. Through listening, companies can improve their level of customer care, identify potential customers, and even align internal teams that typically work in a separate, siloed manner.
Take customer care, a vitally important consideration for companies today. It is especially important during the holiday season, when consumers are more likely to buy products, but also—due to the stresses of this most wonderful time—more liable to share their discontent about a brand online.
Through listening, brands can generate a detailed view of products, services, or care strategies that spur negative sentiment. Consumers aren’t always going to complain directly to a brand: depending solely on your owned @mentions limits the view — and means you’re likely missing out on opportunities to create more (and happier) customers. Identifying broad-based market themes, hot topics, or even competitors’ content gives brands an edge in a broad, constantly shifting digital market.
With this broad-based analysis, for example, companies can quickly recognize whether they’ve drawn a one-off complaint about a delayed delivery, or whether an entire state is angry about a series of delayed deliveries. Armed with that knowledge, they can link to, say, shipping trackers or address bigger operational issues appropriately.
Listening also has the power to drive innovation. Companies can hear countless social conversations in real time, and use the information to better tailor their products to the needs of their customers. Larger companies can use location filters to see how demand varies across different regions, and shift their strategy accordingly.
Alas, crowd-sourced R&D isn’t always the right move. But when you leverage social listening data as a well of consumer insights — a sort of on-demand focus group — it can lead to products that solve market problems in a unique and innovative way.
Simply using social listening is just the beginning for brands today. Indeed, there is a pressing need for companies to harness listening in much more robust, holistic ways. Fortunately, the listening solutions available today allow them to do just that.
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