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Are You Listening to Your Customers?

Last updated May 28, 2013

Social media, Twitter, Google +, Facebook, trip advisor etc. may be the marketing tools in vogue just now but how much time are you spending listening to what your customers are saying about you?

No doubt you spend an increasing amount of time and effort devising tweets, posting messages, blogging and commenting, but how much effort do you put in finding out what your customers are saying about you?

Recent research from Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research shows how customers complaining behaviour has changed. In the past they would write a letter or send an e-mail, perhaps more frequently telephone. But the world of complaints has changed; consumers are impatient, vocal and unrepentant.

They eventually turn to, or may even go straight to social media to air grievances. They know that the power of a valid complaint when shouted from the rooftops will yield greater, better and quicker results for them. For the company that has spent time and money building a positive reputation it will only take one complainer on social media to do untold damage to that reputation.

But this isn't just a weapon of choice for the younger generation; around a quarter of over 55 are engaged with companies via social media. So, what do you need to do?

1. Monitor all of your social media feeds.

2. Setup alerts that every product name, company name and key personnel name.

3. Act quickly when an adverse comment is posted, time is of the essence. Ignoring a complaint even for a short while can mean that the scale escalates and complainer becomes more vocal.

4. Contact the complainer and talk to them – don't engage in a debate online.

5. If and when you post responses online, make sure they say exactly what you mean, remove any ambiguity.

6. Actively seek a solution to genuine complaints as quickly as possible – most consumers are impatient and want a quick answer.

Above all listen to what is being said about your company. Act on the information and solve whatever went wrong. A complaint lodged via social media may be the first you know the problem, don't let it fester and cause more problems, get on and solve it.

My thanks to Your Money at Telegraph.co.uk for the inspiration for this blog.

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Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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