Just Listening Doesn’t Lead to Action

by Jay Deragon on 11/07/2011

Everyone is talking about the value social media provides to customer feedback.  Company’s are establishing monitoring centers with teams of people tracking every word spoken about their company, their products as well as what their employee’s are saying about anything and anyone.  It appears as thought social media is fueling the surveillance of every word and image anyone is saying about them.  What is the intent?

Missing The Point?

Karin Adams, Director of Enterprise Products at MarketTools, says “Companies are increasingly embracing social media as a way to interact with their customers, though they are missing an opportunity to incorporate this feedback into a voice of the customer program…”

The study revealed a disparity in the way companies think and the way they act in regards to customer satisfaction. Although 95% of respondents believe that satisfied customers are very important or extremely important to their company, only 36% have formal voice of the customer (VOC) programs in place to collect and analyze customer feedback. And of those companies with formal VOC programs, 45% solicit customer feedback on a quarterly or less frequent basis.

33% of executives surveyed said that their companies have a greater focus on using social media as a channel to capture customer feedback when compared to this same time last year. When asked what areas of the company are active in social media:

  • 44% of those surveyed cited public relations, 42% cited corporate marketing, and product marketing and customer service/support were each cited by 34% of the respondents.
  • Of the 68% of companies that have an active presence in social media, 48% have an active presence on Facebook, 24% on Twitter, and 17% on their own company blog.
  • 22% of those surveyed stated that their company’s CEO regularly participates in social media on behalf of the company.  Facebook is the social media channel of choice, used by 68% of the CEO’s, followed by 44% who participate on the company blog, and 35% who participate on Twitter.
Actively listening and participating within the eco-system of all things social doesn’t mean your organizations is actually serious about doing anything to improve customer or employee satisfaction.  All it means is your are aware that people now have a voice and they are talking about you, the good, the bad and the ugly.
The best response to listening is to demonstrate change.  That doesn’t mean sending an apology email after the customer complains about you on a blog post. That doesn’t mean bribing customers with coupons, refunds or freebies after you failed at customer service the first time.
The worse mistake you can make is claim you are listening then taking no action to change something important to the customer.

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