Listening. Easy. Yet almost nobody does it. Who would not want to know what our customers (existing and potential) think, feel and how they look at us? If we only had this information, we could solve any sales issues and increase our income in some orders of magnitude. You can absolutely discover all this and take advantage of the potential of this knowledge. All you have to do is listen.
Listening to customers is as simple as the words that compose it: listen. Listen to what they say about through the various communication channels that connect them to your brand. And today is much easier than in the past. Through the internet you are connected with them via your social channels (yes your twitter, facebook, instagram, linkedin and other networks accounts), your web channels (website, blog, crm, etc.) and your direct channels (physical and digital, e.g. messaging and e-mail). Listening and engaging with them is therefore easy. To take advantage of what you need to do is to add a metric and analyze what they tell you.
This determines what is relevant to them for what you are and do.
How to do it, then? Simple. In three steps:
- Use suitable tools
- Give them what they are asking for
Listening is done on two levels: personal and analytical.
Personal listening, besides making your brand human and authentic, allows you to directly receive your audience needs, fears, requirements and dreams. Never as today customers want to be heard and being answered by brands: this is one of the key element for successful brands. Analytical (or statistical) listening involves extracting insights from customer’s data (with quantitative tools and qualitative analysis).
Both way of listening give us the elements to start building your production, marketing and sales strategies: being “customer centric” as it is said today.
Use the appropriate tools
Sometimes it is enough just to read the feedbacks we receive or if the number is quite high, using a simple word cloud. Other times, we need more sophisticated tools. Among the most effective tools are:
- BuzzSumo and Google trends that allow us to understand what are the trend topics in our industry;
- Mention and Google alert if you want to know if you’re quoted or which are the terms most cited in stories that may be relevant to your brand;
- Hootsuite or more sophisticated tools like Salesforce’s Radian6 for more social listening.
- Personalized quantitative and qualitative analytical services by specialized suppliers.
Give customers what they want
Engage with your clients and your suspects truly measure the span of your listening. In fact, listening per se doesn’t mean anything. You have to act to make customers understand that you are listening to them. And acting does not just mean giving a better product and service, it also means sincerely engaging with them and providing social objects that will turn them into fans and promote your brand better than any marketing agency. Content and experience for which it is worth talking and sharing.
So if you want to be successful stop talking about you and start listening to your customers, make them feeling good, create value, events, and memories to let them talk and share about you, your products and your services. Because their storytelling and conversations are your brand: your brand is what others say about you! Their experience is your brand.
Even one of the most influential people in the industry like Ann Handley reiterates the importance of listening to customers and how this practice is not so used despite being well-known to everyone that this is strategic. Below you find the interview