Listening & Engaging 2.0: Dell at BlogWell Cincinnati

Last week, I was lucky enough to join a good group of folks at BlogWell Cincinnati to share some details on how Dell is evolving the listening model that we started back in 2006. A lot has changed since then. For one thing, monitoring tools have gotten a heck of a lot better. Luckily, as a company we're evolving how we handle finding customer conversations, and more importantly, what we're doing with them.

Looking across the Web, there are on average between 4000 – 5000 mentions of Dell every day. If you look at those conversations in more detail, you tend to find discussions in three general areas: Dell brand discussions, product mentions/ questions/ customer service requests and technology topic discussions. In reality, only a fraction of those discussions are ones that we need to be involved in, but no matter how you look at it, there's still many opportunities for us to engage our customers on our own properties like Direct2Dell or the Dell Community Forum or elsewhere on the Web in places like Twitter, Facebook, or external blogs or forums.

 Our goal is to evolve our listening strategy to the point where we can identify the relevant conversations, parse the actionable ones so we can deliver them to employees within the company who can engage our customers. It's a work in progress, but one piece that is working very well is the role of Listening Czar–it's a job that's being done well by @BillatDell. His role is to connect the dots–to figure out when a seemingly unique product issue becomes a trend. He looks for technical support, customer service or sales-related issues in the Dell Community Forum, on Direct2Dell comments and comments in our other blogs and compares it to activity that's happening in a variety of places around the Web. Beyond monitoring though, Bill also gets input from employees who are engaging with our customers on the Web (see the two-way arrows below).

Here's a visual of the Listening Czar concept (click on it to get to the presentation on SlideShare):

Listening Czar slide

While we've made some progress in terms of making sense of the noise, it's clear we've got more work to do. Beyond making the process work across multiple business units, we also are working to globalize the strategy into more social networks like our presence in Sina's China microblog service. You'll see us focus more efforts on responding to customer service needs on our own properties and beyond in the near term. Longer term, we'll be working with extended teams within Dell so that our employees can participate in more brand/ reputation discussions and in broader topic-driven discussions around the Web.

About the Author: Lionel Menchaca