Forget Listening and Engaging, Managing Conversations is "Da Bomb"

You probably heard the many experts telling you to listen and engage with your customers.

Do it! Today!

Get on Twitter!

Get on Facebook!

LISTEN! ENGAGE!

If you just followed the advice you already know that in the long run it just consumes resources for no gain.  Sure, you can engage with an upset customer and solve their problem – but how do you find and fix the faulty process that led to the problem?  Or, you can promote via Facebook and get lots of people to buy — but how do you know if they did come from Facebook? Did they only “fan” (or “like” you to use the more modern term) you for the special offers or coupons?  How do you retain customers and grow loyalty via these interactions?

So, if listening and engaging don’t yield tangible, long-term results – then what does?

Managing conversations.  Yes, I did use the M word… after all, you are running a business and you need to get results you can track – right?

I talked to beRelevant about this problem and demo their platform for managing conversations.  These are my impressions.

You heard me probably too many times talk about feedback being the fourth pillar of CRM, and how the sole purpose of doing SCRM is to obtain actionable insights that are then converted into process-fixes, which in turn provide better experiences.  The biggest problem you will face when trying to do this is to figure out which conversations make sense to listen and engage in, not how to capture feedback. Feedback, shows up when not expected.  You can be having a conversation about a service issue, and a customer will give you feedback.  Or they could comment with a call-to-action in your marketing materials online, or provide a killer idea on a post about your product elsewhere.

Capturing the feedback is not that hard, we have lots and lots of tools to capture it from the many different places these days thanks to Social Media Monitoring tools and the fact that every vendor figured some way to capture it by now.  It is the doing-something-with-it that becomes tricky.  Quickly you realize that you need more details.  What seemed like perfect feedback during the service call (e.g. the product should also come in brown and green) now is no longer so clear.  What parts should change colors? Just the cover? Maybe we need more colors, not just those.  Does the customer still feel the same way, or was it because they were on a “nature” week?  The lack of answers  is what thwarts the efforts to make the  feedback actionable.

Having that follow-up conversation, in a controlled environment — oh, snap; now I used the C word — and being able to make something of it is what having a conversation is all about.

You can do that with a focus group, or customer council, or whatever method you used before.  Or you could have those conversations online, using a platform that is geared to it.  That is where beRelevant comes in.  It takes the feedback, finds the author, and invites them to contribute and converse in an online, controlled, managed environment.  They make the platform that manages conversations.  And it works, from what I saw, pretty well.

This is an early release in a not-yet-born market.  As long as we continue to push the myth that management and control are bad words, we won’t advance the use of Social Media in the organization.  However, if we ever decide to actually do something with the money we are investing into social media, and we want to have meaningful conversations, a platform like beRelevant is something you need to consider.

4 thoughts on “Forget Listening and Engaging, Managing Conversations is "Da Bomb"”

  1. Great post Estaban! You’re insights as to what to do with feedback continues to bridge the gap between what used to be called being a customer-focused organization and today’s SCRM discussions.

    To be effective, SCRM within an organization can’t be all about conversation and engagement. It must encompass DOING something about it to fix the issue or problem at hand; ie. changing existing processes etc. to improve the customers’ experience.

    But, for many of us, dealing with criticism can be a touchy and difficult thing.

    Whatever you do, there will always be people who don’t like it. Some may actually “hate” it (with more fervor and emotional outpouring then you can understand). In fact, the more successful you are, the more criticism you’ll attract.

    Some times criticism is really only envy or past frustrations in disguise. So the first thing that you must do is ask yourself whether the criticism has any merit.

    How you engage in conversations where your company is being criticized is absolutely critical to maintaining a positive brand perception. Hmmmm, I think this would be an excellent topic for another post.
    .-= Jim Berkowitz´s last blog ..5 Often Overlooked Ways To Optimize Your Website Content =-.

    1. Jim,

      I agree with your point, it is about lots more than just replying to criticism IMO, it is about doing something with it, as long as it is valid.

      Determining the validity of the feedback is where the money is. And, yes — it would make a terrific post.

      Thanks for the read!

  2. Esteban!

    You are right on the money here! (And akin to what I was asking about via Twitter last week – thanks again for your insight).

    I think what companies like beRelevant can do can not be understated. There is too much “passive” in the SCRM world – listening, monitoring – these words in my opinion amount to very little business value. I don’t care that someone already hates my brand – it’s too late for that.

    BUT – say I could effectively engage a HUGE customer base in constant feedback loops. I am getting sentiment, monitoring, etc. but also the valuable insight they have BEFORE I go to market with a product or service that will lead to people hating my brand.

    As you note above – “actionable insights” is the value that NEEDS to be driven here – and the companies that can offer that will eb the ones that rise to the top of the SCRM pile in the coming year. Just my $.02 on the matter.

    1. Martin,

      I welcome your two cents as they complement mine very well. I also believe that actionable is the way to go here. Anything less would be, well — just plain CRM (and we all know how well that analytical CRM thingie did, right?)

      Thanks for the read!

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