the_white_houseToday we are going to explore how to use social media tools to gather feedback from your customers.  A great example of this tool in use is “Open for Questions.”   This is a tool that allows citizens to submit questions to the White House and vote on those questions that were submitted.  92,934 people have submitted 104,039 questions and cast 3,604,877 votes on “Open for Questions.”  Not bad for a trial run.  Many of the most popular questions were addressed by the President during his special online town hall meeting on March 26, 2009.  Today, the trial of this new service has ending, but you can still view and vote on the questions submitted.

Questions on the following topics were submitted:

  1. Education
  2. Home Ownership
  3. Health Care Reform
  4. Veterans
  5. Small Business
  6. Auto Industry
  7. Retirement Security
  8. Green Jobs and Energy
  9. Financial Stability
  10. Jobs
  11. Budget

Is the White House embracing social media?  I think so.  I would expect that applications like “Open for Questions” will gain in popularity.

Here is the opportunity for your business

Every business wants to know what their customers are thinking.  What are their likes, dislikes, how can they improve, why do they choose a competitor, why do they buy, what is the right price, etc.  Every consumer wants businesses to know how to better serve them.  Whether they speak up or not, consumers are consciously or unconsciously making buying decisions.  Social media allows businesses and consumers to connect.  It is a win-win situation.  Everyone gets what they want!

Free and low cost tools are available to bring you closer to your customers

Here are a few free or low cost tools to gather feedback from your customers.

  1. Online Surveys.  Contact Contact has a great survey tool that allows you to create an unlimited number of surveys.  I have one on customer service that I put on the bottom of invoices, one for measure the effectiveness of our training programs, etc.   The nice thing about online survey tools is that they ‘roll up’ all of the survey data in to a report that can help you make better decisions on the data presented to you.
  2. Blogs.  Utilize the comments section on your blog.  Ask for feedback, encourage it, make it an expectation.
  3. Forums.  Create groups of people that ask questions and answer questions for you.
  4. Free tools like Get Satisfaction are great for enhancing customer service.
  5. Do you have other tools that you would recommend – please add a comment below!

ONE ACTION ITEM:  How can you harness the power of social media?  Let’s take a look at “Open for Questions” to get an idea on how you can bring your customer closer.  Go to www.whitehouse.gov/OpenForQuestions and read up on the questions that were submitted.  Vote on the questions that you are passionate about.  This is social media in action.

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