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Are You Listening to Your Customers? How to Build an Effective, Customer-Focused Enterprise

Businesses use a lot of popular tools to help them get in touch with what their customers are saying and thinking about their products and services. Today, most companies base strategic decisions on quantifiable data from surveys, focus groups, customer advisory boards, and now social media monitoring and various kinds of analytics.

But in the wild world of multi-channel, two-way, social communication between companies and their customers, the urge to quantify can drive the humanity out of your business. Empathy, caring and service are cornerstones of the companies customers like best and return to most, but don't fit neatly into quantifiable data .

How can you resist reducing your customers, employees and other main audiences to mere data points in a report? Are you missing important insights that only taking the time to talk to and observe your main audiences first-hand can uncover?

Our webinar panel address these questions as they talk about:

  • How metrics get in the way of really understanding your audiences.
  • How companies abuse surveys and focus groups.
  • Examples of deep listening to employees and customers across company silos.
  • Innovative and holistic forms of listening to your customers and employees.
  • How you can make sure your culture supports active instead of lazy listening.

About the Panel:

Lara Lee

Named one of 25 “Masters of Innovation” by BusinessWeek in 2006, Lara Lee has driven customer-centric innovation for over 20 years…as a consultant and corporate executive, across cultures and around the globe, from startups to the Fortune 100. As head of Harley-Davidson’s Enthusiast Services division, Lara built a new $80 million operation that monetized brand-building experiences, incubated new businesses and delivered 20% operating margin while attracting prized female, minority and under-35 customers. In over 14 years at Harley, she created a rider training business that makes money while filling the customer pipeline, built a museum from the ground up to serve as a self-funding marketing machine, pioneered online community engagement and direct-to-consumer retailing, turned cost centers into money-makers and set the foundation to double international sales at the $6 billion company. With a dual MBA/MA from the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business, and a BA in Chinese language from Brown University, Lara is a frequent speaker at innovation, sustainability and marketing strategy forums. Her perspectives have been featured in publications including The New York Times and Harvard Business Review.


Sam Ford

Sam Ford (@Sam_Ford) is Director of Digital Strategy at Peppercom. He is a regular contributor to Fast Company, and the co-author of Spreadable Media (2013, NYU Press). He is also an affiliate with both the Program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT and the Popular Culture Studies Program at Western Kentucky University. In 2011, Sam was named Social Media Innovator of the Year by Bulldog Reporter. He serves on the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Membership Ethics Advisory Panel. In addition, he is the director of the Futures of Entertainment group at MIT, where he also helped launch and later manage the Convergence Culture Consortium. Sam is a Kentucky Press Association award-winning journalist and was co-editor of the 2011 book The Survival of Soap Opera. He has written for BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, Portfolio, Chief Marketer, The Public Relations Strategist, PR News, Bulldog Reporter, The Christian Science Monitor, and a range of other publications and blogs. His work has been quoted in Investor's Business Daily, the New York Times Magazine, The Financial Times, on CNN, NPR, BBC Worldwide, Boing Boing, Slashdot, Mashable, Hollywood Reporter, and other media outlets. Sam is based in Bowling Green, KY. 



Jenny Dervin

Jenny Dervin, corporate communications director at JetBlue Airways. Dervin has been with JetBlue since July 2005. She is responsible for the low-fare airline's media relations and internal communications functions. Before joining JetBlue, she held a variety of posts at Delta Air Lines, including speechwriter to the president and communications program director for the operations work groups. Dervin graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in journalism. Follow her at @skywriter012

Emily Yellin, Moderator

Emily Yellin is a journalist, author and consultant. Her most recent book, Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us -- Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives, was published by Simon & Schuster. Currently, Emily is a consultant with Peppercom, a strategic communications firm in New York. She also regularly speaks at conferences and in the news media about customer service, marketing, social media and journalism, and is on the advisory board for Emily was a longtime contributor to The New York Times, and has written for Time, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications. She has lived in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London, but is currently based in Memphis. Website: Twitter: @eyellin