customersNo matter the size of your business, it’s important that you listen to customers to understand their likes, dislikes and desires. But, besides surveys and polls, how can you understand how customers truly feel? By listening, using these helpful tools:

Sprout Social

Connect your social media accounts to Sprout Social so you can be directly notified of any new comments, messages or mentions. You can even respond directly to these notifications through Sprout, meaning you won’t have to struggle with remembering passwords and logging in and out of each different social media platform when you see new messages. To really get the most out of Sprout, be sure to set up keyword searches for your brand name and any other related words that are of interest. If your company is called XYZ wholesale distributors, then you should also set up searches for XYZ food distributors and XYZ beverage distributors to capture all comments. Sprout will then pull in any mentions of this keyword on Twitter and Facebook so you can keep a close eye on what people may be saying about you.

Sysomos

Sysomos may be more effective for bigger brands who don’t have time to filter through every single mention of their company on social media. This tool will provide marketers with information on what kind of conversations are taking place around your brand and who’s driving them. The tool categorizes the conversations by sentiment using a unique algorithm, so you can see in a snapshot what the outlook about your company is for the day. With Sysomos, you don’t have to dig for or interpret data on your own, which is a major benefit for marketers in a time crunch.

BoardReader

With all this talk about monitoring social media, sometimes discussion boards and forums get lost in the shuffle. These platforms are just as important as social media and for some industries, perhaps even more important. However, not many tools monitor for keywords or mentions across forums, but there is one: BoardReader. This tool is incredibly useful because the people who actively post on forums about your brand are highly engaged, and thus need your attention. It’s much easier to send out a tweet or Facebook status than it is to log into a forum and create a post, so these customers should be carefully listened to.

ReviewPush

There are dozens of review websites out there besides the big names of Google + and Yelp, and brands should be paying attention to every single one of them. An easy way to do this is to use a tool such as ReviewPush, which pulls in a brand’s customer reviews from dozens of different sites. ReviewPush allows you to respond to these reviews quickly so you can show other customers looking at the review sites that you care about a negative customer experience. If you’re interested in gaining more reviews for your business, ReviewPush also allows you to send out a customized email to your customers to ask them to visit certain sites and leave an honest review.

What tools do you use to listen to your customers? Share your favorites in the comments below!