Why You Need a Chief Listening Officer

Why You Need a Chief Listening Officer

Does your company have a Chief Listening Officer?

I would guess, not.

What exactly is a Chief Listening Officer, anyway? While, it’s not exactly a new concept, it’s a role that more and more companies are creating, including Dell:

“Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers,” said Richard Binhammer, communications executive at Dell.

Kodak is another company embracing the role of CLO.

So what exactly does a Chief Listening Office do? Simply, they make sure their company is doing 3 things:

1. Actively listening to the conversations online. Not just being “aware” of mentions, but taking time to understand what’s being said.

2. They’re making sure that “intelligence” is being shared with the most appropriate teams. For example, if users complain that a camera would be better if it used regular AA batteries–instead of proprietary lithium batteries–that would be valuable feedback for the R&D team.

3. They close the loop. Listening and reacting are all well and good, but you need to let your customers know what action has been–or will be–taken. Let them know that your company’s not just paying lip-service. That it actually cares.

But, don’t freak out that your company doesn’t have a Chief Listening Officer. Heck, you may not be large enough to have a Chief Financial Officer, let alone a CLO. Instead, look at creating the responsibilities of a CLO. Call it what you want. “Community Manager” perhaps. Wear the hat yourself or give it to your PR person. What matters is that you follow the three steps outlined above.

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 “Why You Need a Chief Listening Officer”
    1. Active listening is such an important task–it’s a shame more companies don’t realize this. Social media strategies can’t work if companies don’t factor in how to listen to their market conversation.

    2. I have been thinking about that title for a while. perfect job for your socalites to have and actually be productive in and trackable.

    3. I think we have a pretty good handle on #1 and #3, but does anyone have any recommendations on how to handle #2… especially if your company has multiple business units and 100,000+ employees?

    4. Hi Jennie,

      It sounds like you’re at the size were you could indeed assign the role of CLO to someone.

      As a c-level executive he/she would be granted access to all the company’s plans, problems, opportunities. It could be a similar model to how you ensure the CEO is made aware of issues within the company.

      Unfortunately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. 🙁

    Comments are closed.