A sure sign of a strong client relationship is if you find yourself being described as a “good listener”.
It is an attribute to which clients attach great value.
That’s because there’s more to good listening than meets the ear.
Good listening is as much about the culture of the organisation as it is about the personality of the individual.
And on that basis there are some parallels between what it takes to manage agency/client relationships and what it takes to properly embrace social behaviours as a client organisation.
There is a lot more to being a good listener than providing space for another party to speak.
There is a lot more to being a good listener than hearing what another party says.
Really listening has quite profound implications.
Really listening requires several senses.
It’s not just about hearing words, but also picking up on nuances of context, body language and tone.
It’s about appreciating the significance of what is not being said.
Really listening means being prepared to alter your view or your position based on what the other party says.
Really listening means being able to alter your view or your position based on what the other party says.
As in empowered.
At many agencies the role of the account director is to sell the agency’s work or its point of view.
To return to the agency with the work or the view unsold is deemed failure.
In these circumstances agency processes and agency culture make it impossible to be a good listener.
Because modifying your opinion based on what the other party has said means that the work or the point of view will need to be modified.
Which means failure.
What does this have to do with implementing a social media programme?
Quite a lot actually.
Because fully embracing and successfully implementing such a programme requires, on a corporate level, the attributes of a good listener.
Being a good listener as in being prepared to modify your approach to business based on what these other parties (whom you’ve invited in) are saying to you.
Being a good listener as in being able to modify your approach to business based on what these other parties are saying to you.
Will your business, can your business, change in response to social input from its customers?
Are you culturally, structurally and emotionally ready to accept the consequences of becoming a genuinely social business?
Is yours a people-worthy business?