The Most Important Social Media Monitoring Lesson…from my Wife!

The Most Important Social Media Monitoring Lesson…from my Wife!

Sometimes my wife has a bad day.

Someone cuts her off. She receives a snarky email. Her computer gets a virus. Her haircut goes wrong. At times like these, she has taught me the most important lesson when it comes to being on the receiving end of someone complaining:

“Hear me now, listen to me later.”

It took me years to understand what she was talking about. Effectively, she’s telling me that she wants me to just let her vent and for me to agree with her. This is not the time for explaining things or, worse, trying to fix things. After she’s done, then–and only then–is she ready for me to listen, digest, and help resolve the issues.

It’s a lesson we could all use in our social media monitoring.

In effect, your customers, employees, vendors, investors, complain for two reasons. First, they want you to “hear” their complaint. Often, they turn to Twitter, Facebook, or their blogs, because you didn’t provide any means for them to state their case to you. They crank up their volume because they are desperate to know that you are willing to hear what they have to say. At this point, they don’t want a fix. They want an apology. Verbal, written, and maybe even with a discount or refund.

After that, they want you to “listen” to their complaint. Not just hear it, they want to see evidence that their complaint has really sunk in. This is the time for you to fix that bug, address that customer service issue, or address that rude employee. It’s here that you take action and rectify the situation that gave rise to the complaint in the first place. It’s time for action!

So, the next time you see a customer complaint, remember to both hear and listen to them.

P.S. To all new husbands out there, reading this, you’re welcome! 😉

ByAndy Beal

Andy Beal is The Original Online Reputation Expert™. A bestselling author of two critically-acclaimed reputation management books, a keynote speaker at dozens of events, and brand consultant experience with thousands of individuals and companies.

    4 Comments for “The Most Important Social Media Monitoring Lesson…from my Wife!”
    1. I can’t even COUNT how many time’s I’ve had to tell Todd – “I don’t want you to FIX IT, I just want you to listen to me!”

      It’s definitely in the human “make up” to try to fix it first and really listen to the issue later.

      I see this in overreactions to bad reviews also….”Lets give them a free week’s stay so they’re grateful and shut up” In reality – that just cost you $2,000…when if you’d let them calm down, and tell you what they wanted, you could have solved the issue with a public apology and a promise to do better…..sometimes the first reaction is overreaction…..sometimes you really did blow it and that $2,000 free vacation is warranted…..

    2. I agree Carrie. Just let the customer have your ear first. Let them vent. Maybe they just want an apology. Afterwards, look at the underlying problem and then fix it.

    3. It is possible of course to hear and listen in one fell swoop. You know, take the verbal beating, apologize a whole bunch, then offer a free movie ticket or something. It usually works with my girlfriend 😮

    4. Andy – you’re on the money.

      Half the time companies make it too hard for customers to provide feedback (good or bad) and so often, when you do go to the trouble to complain it’s ignored.

      Today I got a tweet back saying – “sorry you’re unhappy, is there anything else we can help with!!” A classic case of hearing not listening.

      [edited by Andy]

      Best wishes,

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