Are you listening? All of the communication occurring in social channels can challenge our listening skills. How are we sure that we are listening in the right places? What should we be listening for? How can listening translate to tangible benefits for my business or organization? Those are only some of the pressing questions that companies are attempting to answer. As companies move down the inevitable path of co-creating products and services with customers, social channels will become an increasing source of ideas and innovation. The business imperative for customer intimacy will drive many company strategies over the next decade.
New McKinsey research shows the benefit of social computing is arriving faster than expected. McKinsey identifies a new kind of company: the networked enterprise that uses collaborative social technologies to connect the internal efforts of employees, and to extend the organization’s reach to customers, partners, and suppliers. Results from their analysis shows that this networked approach is significantly improving their reported performance. They conclude that fully networked enterprises are more likely to: be market leaders, gain market share, and create higher margins through management practices that leverage the Web in more advanced ways. Their research indicates that many industries will draw new competitive battle lines between companies that use the Web in sophisticated ways and companies that feel uncomfortable with new Web-inspired management styles.
With this as a backdrop, many believe that customer expectations will explode in 2011, as they seek to socially interact with companies and gain a deeper level of knowledge. This will drive companies to make the necessary investments to listen and respond to its customers in social channels. A growing number of businesses and organizations of all sizes will search for ways to tap the power of social media. Strategies will range from creating a Facebook page to more sophisticated social media initiatives such as building branded online communities.
In a recent Blog post by Amber Naslund and Jay Baer, they discuss the Six Areas of your Business that Should be Listening. In the sales area, they talk about the ability to find new prospects that are ready for what you have to offer. We know this because they are expressing their needs through social communication. From a marketing and public relations perspective, they talk about aligning the companies messaging and language with that of the market. They go on to describe the benefits of listening in the areas of customer service, research and development, human resources, and Executive Management.
Are you listening?