Posted by: Bret Simmons | April 17, 2010

Are You Really Listening?

If you make social networking with social media only about sales and marketing, you are missing the bigger and much more valuable picture. You should be leveraging these tools and tactics throughout your entire value chain, not just to sell your existing products and services, but to learn from your customers, suppliers, and employees ideas for new products and services or new ways to leverage your existing value.

Listening is one of the key tactics of this new business paradigm. Lot’s of individuals and organizations are giving due lip service to the fact that they are listening to their customers. But how can we tell if they are really listening?

If they are not responding, they are not really listening.

And who in your organization should be listening and responding? Everyone – if you are really intent on crushing your competition and redefining the competitive landscape of your industry.

A few months ago, I switched my TV and internet service from cable to ATT U-Verse. I loved the product and installation, but was not happy with how they handled my promised rebate. I took my complaint to twitter. ATT listened, responded, and fixed my complain. I’ve written about their service recovery here and here. I was impressed.

A few weeks ago, my TV reception went out. I got on twitter and asked if anyone else in Reno was experiencing problems. My Twitter auto-feeds to my Facebook, and my new ATT friend on Facebook saw my question. He sent me a direct e-mail, offered to help, and in two short days my problem was fixed.

The ATT employee that responded to my concern on Facebook was NOT in either customer service or repair. He was just an ATT employee. He was listening on behalf of his company, and he responded by having the people in ATT that could solve my problem contact me.

ATT is not perfect, but they are listening and responding. That goes a long way with me.

What’s keeping you from unleashing the full potential of social networking for your company? Ignorance? Fear?

Get over it – before your competition beats you up the learning curve and forces you to play catch-up.

Related Posts:

ATT Service Recovery: A Follow-up

Social Capital

The New Marketing Paradigm



  1. Great post Bret! Companies need to not only listen but respond accordingly. It is great that AT&T empowers their employees!


    • Welcome, Sharon! I was very impressed with how they responded and to be honest also surprised. Thanks! Bret

  2. If they’re not responding, they’re not listening, AND if they’re not listening, they don’t care.

    I know small companies may not have the resources to track Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t think companies get that while you’re working hard to get new customers in your front door, you may be losing your existing customers out the back door and they may be shouting at you while they are walking out!

    Another great point Dr. B.

    • Welcome, Paul. Great point! If you are not working HARD to service your existing customers, you are making a huge mistake. It’s easier to keep a good customer than to get a new one, and impressed customers are worth their weight in word-of-mouth gold. Thanks! Bret

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