Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Need for a New Listening Movement: From monitoring to learning

Brian Solis has pertinent points to make about how organisations need to get their act together to listen, engage and adapt themselves to what the customer is saying and wants. He goes on say, "In a time when progressive companies such as Dell and Gatorade are celebrated for their newly erected social media command centers, it is their ability to truly listen and their openness to allow conversations to reverberate throughout the entire organization that serves as a next-generation model for customer-centricity". Read on below.

The market for listening services is rapidly maturing with vendors such as Radian6, Spiral16, Crimson Hexagon,, Lithium, Sysomos, and many others improving how businesses monitor consumer conversations and experiences. The wide array of options and capabilities are nothing less than baffling, requiring expert analysis prior to committing any significant investment of finances or organizational resources now and over time. For those seeking top line advice on the differences between many of the top listening vendors, please read this helpful post at

I’m not going to take this time to preach about the importance of listening nor am I going to focus on which platform will best meet your needs. I would like to explore a very real issue around the enterprise-wide adoption of monitoring systems, or perhaps better said, the lack thereof, and also what businesses should think about as social media becomes increasingly consequential to the organization.

Social media is praised by experts for its promise to open up dialogue between customers and businesses. Perhaps most notably, social media is celebrated for giving a voice to the consumer and eyes and ears to companies for which to see and listen. The reality is that customers always had a voice. Social media amplifies and organizes that voice and packages it as a tremendous gift for businesses ready to earn relevance in a new genre of consumerism. Nothing matters however, if businesses are not ready to learn, engage, or take action based on what they hear.

According to a recent study by Capgemini, 57% of businesses currently monitor online conversations about the brand, products or services. But 20% do not listen at all and another 23% of respondents weren’t sure whether or not the company is listening to online conversations.

Yes, businesses are learning to listen. But what does that actually mean? To what extent are businesses capturing insights, solving problems, learning from recurring themes, and engaging customers and prospects? According to the Capgemini report, the conversions of conversation to action are impressive, but nowhere near their potential.

The majority of businesses polled, 41%, only respond to customers when a direct question is asked. This behavior must shift to full engagement to realize the opportunity that lies before them. Engagement is the currency of relationship building. Those that listen and engage across a greater set of conversations, 36%, are well on their way to building a social businesses. However, there are 20% today that listen and never respond. This is a number that I actually would like to see diminish over the years.

Read further here.

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