Would you spend money to ignore your customers? Would you spend time & effort to create an impression among your potential customers that you don't care about what they say? Obviously not. They why do it in Digital?
The other day I came across a sponsored post from a leading bank on LinkedIn where, in response, some readers had posted negative comments. That reminded me of the negative comments I have seen from unhappy customers on Facebook posts by a leading airline. What was common in both the cases was that not once, had I seen any response from the company to these comments. So I checked and realized that these companies were present on different social channels, and were posting regularly. But they almost never responded to any comment negative or positive.
What does this mean? This means you put out a piece of communication that someone has read and responded to that but you ignored them. And lo! there comes another post after that. That too got some responses, some related, and maybe even some unrelated responses, but no one responded to that either! Over a period of time people realize that it's all a one way communication and stop even reading all the content you are regularly churning out. Followers drop, likes reduce and your effort slowly goes down the drain. Worse, people do not connect with your brand or company and hence stop buying from you or using your services as you have created the perception of being unapproachable and unmindful of their views.
Companies spend millions on Branding. They hire experts, create campaigns, and spend again to do brand surveys & gauge customer receptiveness to their brand. But then, they fail to even acknowledge a direct response to their presence? Here is an opportunity to connect and engage with their current customers and to create an image in the minds of their potential customers and they ignore it? And worse - they don't realize that they are actually creating a negative impression and hurting the brand by their behavior?
Why does this happen? In some cases, it's because the 'job' of posting or churning out content is being handled by people, or agencies not directly connected with the business, and they are doing just what they were told - to post. In other cases it's because, people handling dissemination of the post or content do not know whom in the organisation to turn back to for answers to a comment or a query - the marketing department, the tech team, the product team, the CRM team, the CEO? or who? And in some cases it's because, well, they just don't know how to respond.
This is just one aspect of listening in Digital. There are tools out there that can help you listen in to your competitors posts, responses to those, your customers and potential customers posts, the influencer's posts and to responses to your own posts and that too in real time. But only a few companies or brand are using these tools. Listening can tell you so much about your business category, your competition, customer views and opinions, industry views etc. Listening can then help you plan products or services, or changes to the same, it can help you draw out new marketing strategies, it can help you target new customer segments you didn't know existed , it can help you serve your existing customers better, and so much more. And it can help you build a Brand.
Just as I had written in my Blog post titled "Are you listening" highlighting the benefits of listening for effective communication in general, similarly, listening is very important in today's live, always on, connected Digital world.