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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You? (Part 2)

September 21, 2012 at 10:23 am PST

Yesterday, I shared information on how to get started with social media listening, what to listen for, and the types of information you can gain from listening. Now that you have an idea of what your customers and prospects are saying, what are you going to do with all of that information?

Well, that’s when the good stuff happens! The insights you’ll get from social listening will help you:

  • Build your social media marketing strategy – you’ll have more insights about your audience, who exactly is participating in social media, in which social channels the conversations are happening, how frequently and actively are they posting, and what they are talking about.
  • Have a dialogue with customers and prospects –  you want to do this carefully, thoughtfully, person-to-person, and with a customer-service mentality, but participating in social media conversations gives you the chance to thank fans, find prospects, help those with problems or questions, discover problem areas you might otherwise have missed, and build better relationships with your community.
  • Share what you learn with the rest of your organization – product feedback will be useful to your support and development teams, lead opportunities will get sales excited, your executives will want to hear about emerging trends and what kinds of business problems customers are looking for technology to solve, and marketing can see the traction that offers and marketing campaigns are getting.

As an example, here’s a situation where we were getting feedback via social listening from customers about challenges with firmware downloads. We responded to this disgruntled person (who clearly was appreciative of our efforts), but it also led us to put a temporary fix in place to make the experience easier while we worked on the longer-term solution.

Here at Cisco, we have a central Social Media Listening Center where we are continually tracking mentions of the company, key technology areas and events. It functions as a command center to route questions, issues or even potential leads to various teams across Cisco (many of whom are also doing their own ‘deep-live’ listening work for their specific area of expertise). We also can launch listening centers for special events, including our recent listening center in London for the 2012 Olympics.

We’re also eager to share some of our social listening highlights with you, our partners! Read More »

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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You?

September 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm PST

I’m sure you know what your customers want – you talk to them all the time, right? But what do they say about you – or your products, employees, website – when you aren’t involved in the conversation?

Hopefully, what they say when they don’t know you are listening isn’t much different than what they’d say to your face. Well, the truth is, people are talking about you, whether you are listening or not. So if you COULD listen, wouldn’t you want to?

Forget the things you’d rather not hear – “What did she do to her hair? Does he really think that joke is funny?” – when it comes to your business, hearing more can only be a good thing.

Enter social media listening – a fancy phrase for reading relevant things that people post on social sites – and voila, your long-distance hearing just improved! And by hearing better, you can make significant improvements to how your business runs, deciding what to market and sell, focusing your resources, and strengthening your relationships with customers, prospects, and your entire business community.

How do I get started?
You can use sophisticated monitoring applications like Salesforce Radian6, Cymphony/Visible, and Cisco Social Miner, but you can also get started with free tools like Google Alerts, Technorati, TweetDeck or SocialMention. Before you invest in a paid application, it’s a good idea to play around with putting keywords into one of the free tools to get a sense of the type and volume of results you’ll get back.

What do I listen for?  Read More »

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How to Deliver Superior Customer Service in 140 Characters or Less

When you complain about a company’s customer service using Twitter, do you expect them to respond? If you’re a baby boomer (which covers approximately 76 million Americans), you are more likely to. In fact, according to a new study from Maritz Research, nearly half of all respondents expect companies to respond to—or at least read—their tweet.

The Maritz Research study examines consumer expectations from brands in the social web. In addition to being timely and relevant, this research highlights the value of customer engagement which is especially vital for me and my team as we continue to lead Social Media Marketing listening at Cisco.

When it comes to listening, Maritz Research uncovered a significant gap: although nearly half of the consumers who tweeted a complaint directed at a particular brand expected the company to respond, only a third of those customers actually received a tweet back from the mentioned brand.

Read More »

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Social Media Listening and Engagement Journey

With multiple, diverse, and fragmented conversations happening on the social web, news—both the good and the bad—spreads rapidly. It’s critical to have the ability to quickly gather relevant insights, market trends, and customer intelligence so we can use that information to improve our service and drive our business. There is a huge opportunity to engage with customers in ways and on a level that wasn’t possible before.

For the past year now, I’ve been leading our efforts in social media marketing to do systematic listening for the Cisco brand and also help increase the number of Cisco teams that are monitoring their specific areas. What I’ve learned is that the monitoring and listening process is really a journey—it’s not something we can easily switch on or off. To be truly effective, we must develop clear processes and allocate a variety of resources, people, and tools to this effort.

Read More »

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