Social listening article was long due which I had promised to write up. Fortunately I was triggered by my ex-colleague on LinkedIn when she referred to this article from Walter Adamson. I agree with Walter here almost fully. Especially when he says this:
To me this underlines the very point that Brian is making, and while we know that digital reputation does matter perhaps it’s time for us in the industry itself to take it more seriously and to show it a bit more respect. We see advisors with no digital reputation advising executives on their social media presence and strategy. And not only advising executives but being promoted as speakers at social media conferences as experts on social media! It’s time to expose the elephant in the room and to take a stand. Otherwise we risk making a mockery of our own expertise and experience.
I think there is no disagreement when consulting firms are pushing their senior managers from tranditional consulting practice and expect them to “Just go out there and talk about how responding to social chatter can help on their digital transformation journey“. I’m sure many might be able to fool the audience but not an expert, and definitely not the business and IT guys in the room who deal with such issues day and night and have yet to find a way to make sense of this whole social business!
Where I don’t fully agree with the Walter is the industry expertise part. You need to be part of the industry, you should have understood the process flows and you would know (for years) the weaklings within the system to have some sense-making that these challenges of today and tomorrow can be solved with technologies of tomorrow! With continuous evolving platforms and technologies such as cloud, mobility, social networking and yes, the important part of enterprise social listening, yes the big data and analytics!
There is internal listening you do (our business, our product, our markets and our customers) basically listening to your organisation and then there is the external listening where you listen to your clients, suppliers, markets, competition – yes, the whole external ecosystem. Only then we can talk about an organisation that is in flow and is fully networked! I am not sure if social media savvy and a great digital reputation is alone enough to get this social computing revolution. It takes a lot more.
So you see, But it is all too much to ask from old and seasoned experts and too much of a responsibility to give to young, digitally savvy young guns!
A challenge – lets play a game!
So I was thinking and was wondering if industry expertise (retail, banking, high-tech, manufacturing or whatever business you are in) and smart digital savvy (really understanding what it means to take consumers by the hand and engage with them in that cosmic dance on the digital high-way) combined can truly make an organisation 100% responsive to their consumer ecosystem.
It is not new, extremely customer-oriented companies do that all the time. Steven Jobs was notoriously known to take calls from consumers and could go ballistic because he knew it meant a whole lot to Apple products. He got it! He had cracked it long ago!
Jeff Bezos is known to avoid and ignore his senior staff while he’s in a meeting to respond to emails from consumers! Why? Read this:
Nadia Shouraboura, until recently an Amazon vice president in charge of technology for Amazon’s global supply chain and fulfillment operation, says she sometimes saw Bezos ignoring the discussion at his own meetings because, she realized later, he was reading e-mails from customers, usually complaints. Those e-mails trigger what Amazon people call a “Jeff B. escalation.” By forwarding customer gripes, Bezos is able to have a direct dialogue deep into the company. Ordinary employees see evidence of his insistence on responsiveness. “My initial reaction was, ‘You want me to be working on a Friday night on an order that was messed up by half a day?’ ” says Shouraboura, who recently opened a men’s apparel store in Seattle. “Then it sank in. If one customer wrote to Jeff, there are others who didn’t. And Jeff wants to understand the screwup to make sure it gets fixed.”
“….sometimes ignoring discussions on his own meetings to listen to his customers! “
He knows and gets it just like Steve did!!!!
OK, so this inspirational stuff may not move you because you’re too stuck in taking calls/complaints and rants of your consumers and haters! Systems is not working, new social CRM stuff is not semantically sound-proof and things are only getting too much. Too much data and not knowing what to do.