I want to comment on something I spoke about with executives last week: We need to start delineating between hearing and listening when it comes to voice of the consumer behavior online.
If you are using social listening dashboards, or if you have someone who looks at the reviews for your organization just to respond to them, or are in anyway only valuing (never mind overvaluing) the surface channels versus the much deeper behavior in peer conversations elsewhere, then you are absolutely not truly, “listening.” Hearing the signal from the noise is a significant step in actually understanding the behavior of your customers and it takes someone – a social scientist – actually trained in behavior to do that well (think anthropology, sociology, psychology).
Just to riff on a few industries as examples of “listening” vs. “hearing” in the wild:
- Healthcare: The difference between whether you’re mentioned on Twitter v. mentioned on condition-specific message boards
- Automotive: Nationwide visible reviews v. regional forums discussing specific features and financing
- Consumer Packaged Goods: The polarizing fans and squeaky wheels who want to be seen on your channels v. actual recommendations on demographic forums
- Staffing: How diverse and inclusive your employees say you are v. the statements posted on Facebook
- M&A: The actual reputation of the entity you’re considering v. the one that reflects only on official channels
…and the list goes on. How are you “hearing” vs. “listening?” (And let us know if we can help.)
– Dean Browell, PhD