People Are Talking

I got a note from a colleague this week who’d seen my name referenced in an email regarding a grant proposal. He was understandably curious about the connection between my work and the grant applicant. But mostly he wanted to give me a heads up should the name-dropping prove unwelcome. It wasn’t… but I was grateful that he had my back.

That brief exchange brought to mind a point that I’ve raised with clients repeatedly. In a world in which everyone with Internet access has an open microphone to an international audience, we’ve lost the ability to control the media. Our customers, prospects, and competitors are free to publish commentary about us in blogs, forums, review sites, YouTube channels, social networking pages, and other Internet-accessible media. Some like to share their opinions and expertise to guide others in their purchase or use of products and services. Others need an outlet for frustration when they’ve had a bad experience or failed to gain their suppliers’ attention through other means.

are you listeningA telling study by Maritz Research and evolve24 revealed that 49% of Twitter complainants expected companies to read their Tweets; only a third of them received responses. Of those for whom there was no follow-up, 86% would have liked (or loved) hearing from the company regarding their grievances. Yikes!

Fortunately, there are a number of free (or inexpensive) social media monitoring tools that can help you bend an ear toward the electronic universe and check for mentions of your name, your products/services, and/or your competitors’ products/services. Some examples include: HootSuite, TweetDeck, Pluggio, Social Mention, Addict-o-matic. Check them out!

Don’t miss the opportunity to address a customer complaint directly. And don’t let any seeds of discontent impact the future stream of business that you’d like to cultivate.