Ears. They’re funny little things when you think about it. Their shape, the canals, how they protrude from our heads. Even the hairs that grow out of them as we age. So odd, and yet, so important. I wonder some days if brands have ears. Customers certainly have mouths, constantly shouting, “We just want to be heard!!” But is it being heard they want? Or do they really want to be listened to?
Gather round for story time
In 4th grade music class I learned the difference between listening and hearing. We hear many things, but we don’t focus on all of them at once. Hearing is the physical measurement of sound waves and it just happens.
Listening however, takes that audible information and processes it with the intention of understanding. I was blown away when the teacher said we can all hear the clock ticking…but we don’t know we do until we listen for it.
Are you hearing or listening?
Technically, brands might be hearing customers (through twitter, customer service and online reviews), but are they listening to what they’re saying? Are they getting more than a big helping of noise soup?
Everyone says they want to be heard – but really they want to be understood. That means brands must listen to understand their customers’ desires, motivations and goals before they can decode the needs.
A tale of micro and macro listening
In the micro sense, listening is a customer service tactic. When Dan in Des Moines feels you’ve done him wrong, few things give him such sweet relief as zapping you with an acerbic tweet. This is your chance to respond to Dan quickly and make things right.
On a macro level, you have the opportunity to aggregate social sentiment about your brand (and competing brands) over time, and use that data to inform future products and services.
By being open to what your customers have to say, and listening on a micro and macro level, you can improve your customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
When you align your brand and your business with your customers needs, that’s when magic happens. You make better products, you provide more relevant service and you create more brand evangelists.
And if you need help, the team here at Redonk Marketing is all ears.
How do you show your customers you’re listening? Let us know @redonkmarketing #noisesoup