Focus and workgroups can be excellent at getting information and sharing ideas, however, they can be influenced by bias or a chairperson or brand power. This type of consultation would not be of use in my industry but would be useful for improving some types of products, for example in food and drink products, and marketing material.
Surveys and Opinion Polls
In my role I am responsible for collecting surveys from customers at job completion. This can be an excellent method of measuring overall customer satisfaction, if it is completed in manner which does not make the customer feel obliged to answer a question in a positive manner when they actual had a negative experience i.e. under duress of an employee watching them complete the form. However, when obtained correctly, they can be an excellent method of collecting honest information direct from the shareholder.
Web 2.0 tools events/roadshows
Social media has become an important method for most organisations to communicate directly with customers and obtain feedback. However, organisations must be incredibly careful how they present online as it is very easy to inadvertently insult a person or group by posting information or opinion deemed inappropriate or offensive. It is also very easy for an organisation to quickly consider to be poor if comments and ratings begin to plummet.
Such an example is hotels and Tripadvisor which have been identified as ‘terrible’ by users of the website; 10 years ago, people who have been none the wiser before booking a room. Another example is the way in which the Conservative Party ran their social media campaign at the 2017 General Election which was described by many experts as “shambolic” and “chaotic” and which experts also believe was partly responsible for the party failing to appeal to the younger voter.
Individual meetings and roadshows can be useful in taking information directly to stakeholders – particularly customers – usually to a location where customers are already focused on a sector. Such an example might include my organisation having a stall at the annual contamination expo held at Earls Court annually where thousands of people from the asbestos industry meet. This method is also very useful for brand awareness and gathering information on potential new customers. In addition, new ideas and concepts can be obtained.
Whilst one-on-one meetings don’t generally require a large outlay except for travel expenses, roadshows can be expensive. They usually require at least one day and one employee, and the cost of holding a stall or buying tickets can also be prohibitive. However, this should be considered with the offset of the change to improve a network of people within the same industry.