Want Feedback? Shut UP and Listen!

We’ve all heard leaders, product managers or brands say that they need more feedback, maybe its feedback from employees or feedback from our customers or even feedback from their spouses.  Okay maybe not spouse as I’ve been married 10 years and my wife has no problem giving me feedback, my problem has always been listening.

“The wheel that squeaks the loudest is the one that gets the grease.”

With so many devices, networks and platforms we as consumers have every possible avenue for complaining and sharing our thoughts.  But is anyone listening or more importantly are brands listening and letting you know that your voice was heard.  Probably not!

As someone who isn’t afraid to talk or be loud, I’ve learned in recent years that its often not the loudest or the one that talks the most but the one that is listening to what is said and not said that makes the best leader.

Are Leaders using Social Listening?

Being a social CEO or leader is important but that’s an argument for another blog post.  The most valuable and underutilized element of social media has nothing to do with a selfie or crafting a tweet rather it’s the simple act of listening.  There are lots of tools free and premium that will give you everything from live alerts to daily and weekly reporting on hashtags, competition, influencers, employees and company name.  Understanding the customers path to purchase can be as simple as tracking the content they consume, how often and when they visit your website and the active conversations they are having with your social employees.  Just the basic listening can make a big difference for brands providing them with feedback and customer voice to make for a better customer experience.  You can also take this to the more extreme level for which I call social intelligence, which is a combination of social listening, social data and community influencer engagement.

Big Data is a Blessing not a Curse!

In our digital world today the connected consumer has all the power and that’s a scary thing for most brands.  But it shouldn’t be, if you look at it from the other side these connected always-on consumers are providing brands with more data, more information and community engagement then they could have ever dreamed of..

So when I hear brands or leaders complaining about big data or social media and yet in the same breath they’re complaining about not getting any feedback or not knowing what their customers want.  With all this data readily available there is no excuse for not knowing.  If a brand or leader says they don’t know their customer or don’t have feedback what they are really saying is they don’t want to know and won’t listen because they’re too scared of the truth.

To properly understand what data you need to be gathering you need a culture and team that is made up of customer service, sales, marketing, senior leaders and community managers.  This team will know how to filter the noise so that the data you are listening and reporting on has value and you’re gathering what is being said by your loudest critic and what isn’t being said by your biggest fan.

So SHUT UP and Listen!

So it’s time to stop complaining that you’re not getting the feedback you want… It’s time to start listening and utilizing this big data problem to empower your team to make more strategic decisions.  Not only to create better customer experiences but start shifting the focus from creating products and services that you think customers want, to creating everything you know the customers need.