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Ask 100 business leaders about the single, most-important factor in success, and most of them will answer “listen to customers and prospects.”  In today’s digital world of social media and online reviews, customers and prospects have a big megaphone to express their opinions. About you and your competitors. Are you listening? Can you quickly sort the noise from the business drivers? Are you capitalizing on competitors’ missed opportunities? Are you learning from customers how to build a better strategy? In this article Nichefire looks at three companies to show three things you can learn:

  1. When a crisis is about to happen
  2. Weaknesses around your product and brand
  3. Competitive analysis to spot opportunities

>>>The magazine Entrepreneur published a great article on the importance of listening to your end customer. We liked their emphasis on using customer feedback to identify where your brand is misunderstood and how to prepare for change. <<<

Spot a Crisis Brewing

A PR fiasco can damage your brand for months. Or years. But the right technology can alert you before a fumble becomes a fiasco—or a disaster.

To show you how data can detect a crisis in the making, Nichefire did a deep dive into Tide laundry detergent. Tide aired a radio commercial in 2017 that sings two words in repetition, “shirt” and “soup.” Unfortunately, “shirt” sounded similar to “shit.” To see how the public reacted, the Nichefire platform analyzed 1,000 tweets from that time.

Here are the results:

The word “shit” ranks as the top topic associated with the commercial, but more importantly, it’s connected to the Tide brand. The reason “shit” is listed number one is because so many people piled on the negative feedback.

What’s the takeaway?

Customers criticize brands in social media, and they pile on. It’s important to track Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels to identify potential issues before they rise to disaster levels. Although this radio advertisement and comic kerfuffle on Twitter didn’t swamp Tide, early detection can help preserve a brand’s image. If they listened to social media, they could remove the radio spot before hundreds of thousands of people learned about it on air or on Twitter.

Discover Weaknesses Early

Listening to your audience can help you defining your brand’s weaknesses. But it’s critical improve and spot opportunities to forge a competitive advantage.

In the example below, Nichefire collected a month’s worth of consumer commentary on Macy’s from Facebook. Our platform segregated commentary around service issues – like problems with orders, customer service and technical/app issues.

The map below shows the volume of comments for each related issue. 

What’s the takeaway?

Leverage customer input to identify and prioritize which issues to correct with your product/service or operation. A way to visualize problems (like the map above) deliver a wake-up call (at a glance) and can drive innovation as well as display progress.

Discover Competitive Advantages

Listening to customers is important. To grow, you better listen to prospects too. And most of your prospects are customers of your competitors today. So you need to listen to what prospects say about your competitors.

Those conversations hold valuable insights like:

  • Where the audience is dissatisfied? (Can you innovate to fill the customer need?)
  • What do they love about a competitor? (Can you match it or differentiate to win?)
  • How do they talk to customers/prospects? (Can you emphasize a different benefit?)

Nichefire’s proprietary software analyzed sentiment and categorized Facebook conversations on three prominent home improvement brands: Lowe’s, Ace and Home Depot. The data collected was from the 2017 holiday season. Here’s a sample from the many insights we generated. 

As you can see, Ace Hardware shows strong positive associations with in-store customer service. Conversely, Lowe’s and Home Depot show more negative conversations.

What’s the takeaway?

The takeaway is simple but profound for business. If you can’t see your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, your strategic decisions are guesses. That’s a bad bet. In the case above, imagine the size of the prize if either Lowes or Home Depot corrected their lousy installation reputation. What if Lowes improved its in-store efforts to get close to Ace Hardware? What if Ace could replicate its in-store success in the online space? These insights drive operations, marketing, training, and hiring. They drive winning.

How can Nichefire help?

Getting data is the easy part today. Mountains of it come in with good listening tools. But you still have to sort it and make sense of it. That’s where Nichefire comes in. Our artificial intelligence technology starts where listening tools end. Our technology sorts, classifies, and organizes millions of data-points in seconds—and then delivers it in easy to understand, and act upon, graphs.

We give you insights. You’ll see how your strategies stack up against your competition. We provide recommendations on how to improve your performance. Start tracking your competitors with the power of AI and develop differentiating strategies with smarter, faster competitive intelligence.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Nichefire.

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