3 ways to listen to your customers better

8th July, 2016

It’s one thing to think you know what your customers are saying about your business. It’s another to be actively listening to them.

Research shows that most unhappy customers don’t complain, but they will gripe to their friends about it. These days, that means their complaint gets posted on social media.

1. Social media monitoring tools

Back in the day, Google Alerts was routinely used to keep people abreast of online mentions of their company’s brand or products. But with the proliferation of social media, you need more than just Google’s original tool and pingbacks to keep you on your toes.

That’s not to say that you should completely dismiss Google Alerts, but there are alternatives, many of which are free.

With them, you can measure reach, influence, and read what people say about you and your company across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as well as in blog posts and websites.

You can track, monitor and engage with online conversations relevant to your business, and learn more about an individual, company, or brand. It helps you to see who is talking about you, your company, or any topic you are interested in.

READ: 5 social media mistakes businesses make?

2. Social media listening

With so many tools out there, we’ve listed five of the most popular for you to check out and get started. They’ll keep you updated on what’s being said about your company, and what your competitors are doing.

With real-time notifications available on your smartphone, you’ll always be the first to know.

And with most offering a free trial, you can give them a test run to work out which one might work best for your business.

Social Mention is a free app that works as your eyes and ears on social media. It combines content from different social platforms in one digest for easy review and analysis. You can perform a search or choose to receive daily email alerts of your brand, company, marketing campaign, or competitor. Each search result also provides a percentage estimate for content passion, sentiment, strength and reach.

Mention is similar to Google Alerts, and monitors search engines, social networks, blogs, and other sites in real time and informs you every time someone mentions your targeted keyword. This can be a brand name, product or person.It makes it easy to see everything from customer complaints to what your competitors are up to.

Talkwalker Alerts offers a simple and free way to track mentions of your name, brand, competitors, events or favourite topics. Once a keyword or phrase search has been set up, you can filter the returned data by result type, language, frequency and quantity. Talkwalker shows brand mentions over a given time period, as well as the sources where the mentions occur.

Buzzsumo is essentially a content marketing tool, but its media monitoring feature is worth a look. The tool captures a wide range of coverage and provides easy-to-read graphs on its dashboard. You can view the coverage on the dashboard, export it or have alerts emailed to you.

Hootsuite allows you to go beyond your own social channels to tap into the conversations happening on news sites, blogs, forums, and other public places. The tool accesses real-time data from over 100 million sources in 50+ languages across 25+ social networks and other platforms.

3. Customer surveys

While monitoring what customers are saying across social media is critical, you can also ask them for feedback directly.

Customer surveys are a great way to start the customer feedback process, as they give you the chance to ask specific questions. Find out exactly what your customers really think about your product or service.

There are plenty of affordable tools available for you to use to create your surveys and gather the feedback. Which one you choose all depends on what you have in mind, and your budget.

To help you get started, here are five of the most popular survey tools available online:

Stay at the top of your game by conducting regular services and actively monitoring social media so you can respond to conversations when it matters most.

READ: How to hire staff that will make your customers happy