“To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation”
– Chinese Proverb
Listening is the initial step to true communication. Listening, as it turn out, is one of the most critically under valued and under utilized skills any company. Yet, for businesses, it is a skill that must now be cultivated. To listen is to understand, to comprehend, to learn, and then react.
The corporate moats and castle gates constructed by advertising, public relations, and customer service, are crumbling. Customers have found the Internet to be the great enabler. Through web pages, review sites, videos, blog posts, comments, rankings, tweets, and more, the conversation is ongoing. The trick is to promote the good and quickly address the bad. Before you can do either, you first have to develop your company’s big ear — what matters because your customers tell you so.
There are companies, such as Radian 6 or Scout Labs, who will sell you a suite of tools to listen to your customer’s voice. Small and medium businesses, with a little time and effort, can create a basic monitoring tool with free tools to listen and engage their customers online. All you have to do is dig a few pipes.
Five Steps to Simple Social Monitoring for SMBs – The Big Ear
*Prerequisite: Google & Yahoo! accounts and basic understanding of RSS feeds
- Create a few Google Alerts relevant to your company as an RSS feed
- Create several, targeted Twitter searches and grab the RSS feed
- Create an advanced Social Mention search for the social media platforms you wish to monitor and grab the RSS
- Create a Yahoo! Pipe that consolidates all of the above RSS feeds into one
- Load the Yahoo! Pipes RSS feed into your favorite reader – Google Reader, Outlook, etc.
How to Create a Yahoo! Pipe for RSS
How are you listening to your customers? Leave a comment.