Listen up….your customers are talking about you

Now don’t get paranoid, but as you sit there reading this, someone, somewhere in the world is probably talking about you. If you are in business – and particularly if you run a big business – there’s little doubt that people are mentioning your name, or your products, in pubs, clubs, hotel lobbies, airport lounges and on social networking sites. Indeed, it has always been the case; people talk about businesses behind their backs.

View more presentations from Dave Ewart.

A few years ago that didn’t matter too much. Half a dozen people criticising one of your products in an isolated pub in the middle of the Mendips was not going to make a major difference to your bottom line. But now, those six people are extending their conversation from the pub to the likes of Facebook, or to review sites that exist for almost every sector. Instead of people talking about you behind your back and having little impact on you, they are now talking behind your back in conversation with millions of people. And that can be damaging.

A new study from customer experience specialists Tealeaf shows that 56% of people avoid companies if they read negative information about them on social networking sites. And 74% of people say that what they read in social networking sites influences their likelihood of doing business with an organisation.

In other words, the pub chat that might have influenced a handful of people and turned them against you, is now taking place in the full glare of the Internet spotlights and reaching millions as a result. The impact on your sales potential is enormous.

If you ignore this – or don’t even know what people are saying about you – then you can’t react or change things. Monitoring what people say about you is now essential. Indeed, even if you don’t sell stuff online, even if your business does not have a website (half of British businesses don’t) people will still talk about you and will affect your sales. You need to listen to what they are saying.

In the past you couldn’t do this – unless you had spies in every pub in the land. But it wasn’t that important then because the impact was minimal. Now, thanks to review sites and social networks, the impact is potentially catastrophic. If you don’t listen to the chatter, your business could be harmed before you even know it. So important is online listening that Kodak is seeking a “Chief Listening Officer”. How important is listening in your business?

Far too many companies that I meet don’t listen. Indeed, I was with a bunch of senior executives today who all worked for medium sized firms. They agreed they needed to know more about their customers; they felt they didn’t know enough about them. Actually, the information they need is available, it’s just that like many other businesses they are not listening hard enough.

So, how much time do you devote to listening to what your customers and potential customers are saying about you and your marketplace? Monitoring the discussions on social networks is a good place to start – plus it will help you deal with any negatives so that you can minimise the impact of those negative comments and reviews. Saying you don’t have time to listen like this is not an option any more. It’s essential to the future of your business.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

Internet Psychology

Is your brain back to front?

British businesses will spend this weekend on tenterhooks as they wait for Monday’s announcement from the Government about the ending of lockdowns. For the past couple of weeks, the mutterings from 10 Downing Street suggest

Read More »
Internet Psychology

Can you do boring tasks?

Last week, not far from the M25 in Buckinghamshire, the biggest-ever boring machine in the UK started its slow churn through the Chiltern hills to dig a tunnel for the HS2 rail system. It will

Read More »
Fence painting
Online Business

When did you last paint your garden fence?

If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.

Read More »