I was talking to colleagues recently about new ways to measure and report customer satisfaction and corporate performance. There are lots of good examples out there such as the Birmingham Civic Dashboard ( kudos @siwhitehouse & team). Just as interesting is what we measure. In an age of social media, I’m increasingly of the view that levels of interactions or engagement through socmed is something we should register in some way. It helps that stats are easy to come by (see an earlier post regarding Facebook). Collaboration with citizens is going to be crucial as hard-pressed councils struggle to deliver but if people have a bad experience of engagement, they are less likely to get involved. It’s a phenomenon that Tim Hughes has covered well here. Taking Tim’s point forward, it surely follows that a council that can demonstrate high levels of engagement (even negative comments) must be doing something right. High levels of participation in online forums is a measure of satisfaction in the very process of engagement itself and should be applauded.
Over the last few months we’ve been working on what was to be called our Digital Strategy and a huge thanks to everyone who gave freely of their advice and experience. It’s a tricky business, akin to herding kittens. Just when you think you’ve got it, the goal posts move. Over and over we kept bumping up against a hurdle. Essentially the question always was “How do we explain this technology?” When you’re talking to people who don’t use social media, it’s hard to get to the discussion about ‘virality’ and reputation when they’re still trying to get their head around why anyone would use Facebook in the first place. We moved the tools further and further down the document and concentrated more and more on what they will mean to the culture of the organisation. It’s easy to talk about being an open, listening council, what we’re re concerned about is what would an open, listening council look like and what evidence would our customers see to prove it? My colleague, Nigel Bishop spotted an interesting blog by Dion Hinchcliffe that looks at the model of the Social Business. It includes a useful definition by Sandy Carter of IBM & Dan Schwabel of Forbes;
“A Social Business isn’t a company that just has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social Business means that every department, from HR to marketing to product development to customer service to sales, uses social media the way it uses any other tool and channel to do its job. It’s an organization that uses social networking tools fluently to communicate with people inside and outside the company. It’s a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, identify expertise and enable a more effective workforce.”
And so our Digital Strategy will now be a Social Business Strategy (inc Social Media). It will describe a council that listens more and talks less. Because as many people have already expressed, it’s not about the tools..it’s about the culture.