Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Art of Social Listening - 7 tools which may help

Remember the good old days of the Shortwave radio?  It would play along in the background as if there was something of great importance about to happen.  Realtime listening at its finest!

I know it's kind of 'Old School', but I was rather surprised when my father-in-law said he was wanting to sell a ..... wait for it .... PRO Series AM/FM / SHORTWAVE / TV SOUND / AIR / MARINE MULTIBAND RECEIVER.   Not only that, but one which is in really good condition, I don't think anyone has ever used it.

The way in which we communicate has changed considerably in the past few years.  But are we any good at listening?  While we spin the tuning dial, do we actually stop and take notice of what is being said?  Is there such a thing as 'fine tuning'?

Today, I was having a conversation with Tanja Clauberg about the Art of Social Listening.  Tanja was explaining how she helps add the WOW into Travel & Tourism, by helping businesses understand what their customers are saying.  Once you know what your customers are saying, you can change products, services and processes to help create an exceptional customer experience.

Don't you just love those low-cost budget airlines which have a habit of treating customers poorly with a badge of 'un-reliable' pinned proudly to their chests?  I often watch a television show about one such Australian operating airline, Tiger Airways.  Time and time again, I see upset passengers who seem to have been poorly treated, while the airline doesn't seem to care.  It's easy to see room for improvement, but in most cases improvement is not what the customer wants!

Okay, don't tune out on me quite yet.  The low-cost budget airline is still in business today because it has listened to what the customer wants.  The ability to get from A to B at a low cost.  Their customers are happy to sacrifice comfort and reliability for a cheap ticket.

Today is the era of 'Big Data'. Thousands of photos, blog posts and videos are being shared on the internet daily. It's as if there's an infinite number of channels which we can tune into.  With Social Analytics we are able to identify trends in what people are saying about our industry, brands and services.

As I've said before, a Social Business is a People Business.  We need to be listening to what our customers and prospects are saying.  Take the time to have 'real world' interaction with your customers, they like to feel that you're listening to them.  But, also be tuned into what people are saying on-line, it's often more honest.

Here are some tools which may help you to analyse what people are saying on-line:

  • Cognos Consumer Insights - Create relationships. Build advocacy. Improve loyalty
  • Social Mention - Realtime social media search and analysis
  • TweetEffect - Find out what tweets made people follow or leave you
  • Converseon - A social media listening agency that listens for you
  • Spiral16 - Software tool based on organisation, accuracy, visualisation and analysis
  • Google Alerts - Provides streaming updates of latest relevant search results
  • Tweetdeck - A free tool which helps to monitor keywords on your category or brand


  1. What you have said is so true. Many times you hear someone say are you listening or are you hearing me...... People say they are listening or have heard and then still do the total opposite - this then leaves a very bad taste which could lead to a down turn in business or a bad review.

    Social Media is the new communication and a strong way of communicating but one still needs the old school approach of making contact Talking face to face = The Human Effect.

    Hear, Listen then act. In any industry these are vital keys to change, improvement, motivation and anything else to create a win win experience for all.

    1. Tanja

      Thanks for your comments. I am interested in your comment about "People say they are listening or have heard and then still do the total opposite". I think that this is indicative of hearing but not listening. It reminds me of when I tell the kids of, over and over for the same thing. Every day they would apologize, but I am quick to point out that an apology menas a change in behavior.

      A company that listens to its customers will always be finding new and innovative ways to change and improve. Listening to customers is key to innovation and transformation. It breads customer engagement and loyalty.

      While I am an advocate for Social Media, I believe that it should only be treated as one channel for customer feedback and interaction. The key question needs to be asked, "How do we listen better to our customers?".

  2. Bearing in mind that it is not possible to act on everything but it is important to look for the common denominator and work with that. Also take note of the quiet spoken words and not always the loudest.

    1. Another term for this is "Crowd Sourcing". Getting the masses to feed back their views and opinions and then working out what is important as a result. Obviously, your customers are the crowd.


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