This week I thought I would take a brief look into one of the chapters called listening from the Groundswell book. This chapter led me to think about some questions they posed in the book in a new way than I had before. I think we can all agree how important listening is in everyday life, but yet isn’t it one of the harder things to do at times? Maybe a lot of it revolves on the connotation that we tend to think we are right and that we couldn’t possibly be wrong when it comes to making decisions. Why would we than listen to what others have to say if we already know the answer? I would like to share what I learnt from this chapter about listening and hopefully broaden your perspective on the importance of listening.
First off why is listening important?
Listening is important for many reasons, first off it shows you care. It allows your customers and staff to ask questions, give feedback, and recommendations. This can only strengthen a business. If you want to seek positive changes to product development, wouldn’t you want to ask those customers who have purchased and used it before? Maybe they can give you an outside perspective that you hadn’t thought of before that could help improve your product. Now let’s say you use these recommendations by your customers to create a new version on the product that they like more. This shows the level of respect you have for your customers and that you are willing to cater to the customer’s needs.
Your brand is what your customers say it is.
Although one might think they can control the brand image, its really open to the customers to decide what your brand really is. If they like your brand than your brand becomes one that is gaining popularity, and becoming one with more demand. If they have no reason to use your brand and like that of the competitor, there is now a negative connotation to your brand. You can either choose to think you can control what your brand is or allow your customers to have a say what your brand is, and through listening to what they say, adapt, reform and come out with a better version. At the end of the day these customers are the ones buying your product, and if they don’t like it, they won’t buy it. Listen to what they have to say and improve it.
How to listen?
There are two strategies the book Groundswell has in place to help business listen more effectively. Before your read these two strategies, it is important to note that a business or company must take action after using the strategy. One can gain all the necessary information on how to resolve an issue but until you put together an action plan, you will still have the same problem you had prior to the implementation of these strategies.
- Set up your own private community: A private community means having a group designated for just customers and clients who use your products. It could be used like a type of forum where members discuss about the product in an open environment with other members and deal directly with the company. This would give you a more natural interaction with your target market where you can listen in on what they like or don’t like.
- Begin brand monitoring: Another strategy you could adopt would be to hire an outside company to listen to your target market. This outside company would be responsible for looking on numerous social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, to see what the consumers are saying about the product. Once this outside company writes up a report on what’s being discussed, it is then shipped back to you to analyze.
Both these strategies I have thought to be effective tools in order to listen to what people say about your brand. In terms of linking it to the financial services, which is where I’d like to find myself, I would use the first strategy more. I want to work for a private firm and I feel like it would be an effective strategy to have a forum built into the private firm’s website so that important questions can be addressed. It would allow for people who work at the private firm to deal with clients more effectively, as you can see what they are discussing, what their needs are, and what they like and don’t like. It also allows for there to be some transparency in the business and shows you aren’t withholding anything from them as you allow all clients to engage and discuss amongst each other.
I will leave you off with an image to look and think about that relates to this blog post.