Even though a lot of us look at the online and offline world as two separate entities, there’s very little between them nowadays. Times have changed and the way a business acts online is just as important as it does offline. This is particularly the case for the way a business listens – in fact, in a lot of cases listening online to others around you has bigger benefits and helps prevent more issues than the online equivalent – it’s also a lot easier too.
Whether it’s those above us, those we work alongside or our customers listening is the most important activity there is. A businesses ability to listen separates the good from the bad and can be the cause of significant changes in how it does business, deals with issues and is perceived by the community. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of different areas where listening has changed or become even more important in business.
Most modern businesses have a Facebook page or a Twitter account and for an increasing number these accounts are becoming an increasingly important part of the customer service area. It’s understandable why this is the case – they’re often cheaper to run and allow real time responses to deal with customer complaints. And though complaints are visible, there’s also the opportunity to shine while dealing with them and by doing so see the problem itself turned from a negative to a positive.
However, one of the most exciting areas of social listening, one which a lot of businesses don’t know about is active social listening. There are a number of great tools out there that allow you to monitor a brand for mentions across a variety of different websites, social media and forums. This allows brands to not only see what people are saying about them but also to respond to that and turn a negative to a positive. Some of these tools even manage to monitor the sentiment of the messages – meaning you can see how happy people commenting on your brand are or aren’t.
These sorts of tools are extremely powerful when it comes to addressing issues and allow businesses to not just deal with major problems, but even nip them in the bud before they occur. They also allow them to engage with groups or on social media they may not already be on and by doing so create great brand awareness and improve perception of their brand. However, one thing that businesses still need to be aware of, even with these amazing tools is that communication is the same online as offline. We’re moving away from the traditional B2B or B2C channel and business via social media is becoming a human to human experience.
Online and Offline are Now the same
The way we deal with people as businesses should now be the same online, as it is offline. Times have changed and businesses can’t hide from the complaints in the way they once could. While throwing a letter in the bin, or not picking up the phone were once okay, things have changed and businesses must deal with problems or face the backlash.
What human resource departments have been preaching about listening to staff, clients and customers for years and trying to get people to do offline, now also has to be done online. From implementing the 20/80 talking to listening ratio to responding calmly but quickly to queries – what was once offline is now important online too.
The world has changed in a lot of ways, but listening was always important, still is and will be for the foreseeable future – so just as the HR department has been telling you for years – listen up.
Why the Way Businesses Listen is Changing for the Better