The power of the public voice is growing exponentially. Every day there are more channels available for someone to voice a suggestion, or for a disgruntled customer to air complaints. Yet even with this wealth of technology at hand, some businesses are still lagging behind by failing to give consumers a venue for talking back.
Businesses looking for innovative ideas on how to interact with their customers while gathering feedback should look no further than the U.S. Department of Transportation and the open government initiatives that have revamped the way the agency is reaching out to taxpayers.
On the first day of the Gov 2.0 Summit, Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari discussed how the DOT drew from Twitter and Facebook to create a unique approach to collecting public feedback on proposed federal regulations.
Working with Cornell University’s e-Rulemaking Initiative, the DOT wanted to get rid of the traditional, legalese-heavy docket system for commentary on proposed federal regulations. They came up with Regulations.gov, a means for the public to access proposals and use plain English to pitch ideas, give feedback and help shape government regulations — in real time.
The DOT’s initiatives for an open government start on a simple concept that businesses should mimic: Feedback is free and it’s happening everywhere.
Of course, designing a feedback system from scratch isn’t going to be the answer for every organization. For many businesses, monitoring social channels is a perfectly adequate feedback model. Whatever your business’ approach, it’s important to bear the DOT’s lesson in mind: Leaving feedback needs to be as simple and as seamless as possible. Successfully interacting with customers while improving your business means accepting that many people have worthwhile opinions to share — and they don’t want to jump through hoops to give them.
Image credit, Aseev, via iStock Photo