It’s a tried-and-true method of building internal and external engagement – the suggestion box. It’s a fab way of helping employees and customers feel empowered to help direct the course of your organization. But the days of the wooden box with the tiny slips of paper are over. People want to be able to offer their ideas, feedback, and questions quickly and conveniently.
So what are some modern methods of collecting these comments? Remember, we’re talking about virtual suggestion boxes with which employees and customers can provide feedback almost any time. This is different from your typical communication/marketing survey, pulse poll, or focus group. Companies need tools that make it easy to give suggestions or ask questions quickly.
Here are a few that today’s organizations should have, or consider having, in place. An email address created exclusively to collect suggestions is almost a given, so I won’t mention that… except in this particular instance. But here are some to think about – some you probably have in place already, but maybe not others.
While most companies have internal and external blogs, they’re often used for leadership- or marketing-driven messages. Thus, comment sections are mostly there for reaction to the content rather than soliciting feedback about strategic direction. If your organization offers a corporate blog, there should be a permanent blog dedicated to taking suggestions from employees or customers. Write a short blurb asking for specific ideas for products, processes, etc.
Online forums have been around for a while so this might not be the most innovative of suggestions. But the traditional commitment it took to establish a comprehensive forum is no longer the case. Companies are increasingly incorporating collaboration tools like Microsoft Sharepoint that offer in-the-box resources like forums. If you have access to a forum tool, there should be one that solicits employee suggestions. The best feature of a resource like this is that others can join in the conversation and offer ideas to enhance a suggestion.
You’d think this is an idea for a cruise company, but no. (tap, tap… is this thing on?)
Anchor is an app that makes it easy to broadcast short audio clips to a global audience in seconds. Basically, a user can record an audio question or statement on a phone. Listeners can talk back by recording a response, sparking instant group conversations.
Anchor can be a prospective tool for an executive leader or representative to talk about a new initiative or simply solicit suggestions from internal and external followers. It’s not just a forum to broadcast corporate messages. Anchor can potentially increase engagement by making employees or customers make their voices heard… literally.
Video Suggestion “Booth”
I don’t mean literally setting up a booth with a video camera where people can sit and record their ideas. After all, we live in a world in which everyone with a phone has their own video camera. Today, employees and customers can record and send their own suggestions to dedicated email boxes. The best part about submitting video suggestions is that those who don’t express themselves well in the written word can verbally explain their ideas. If their suggestions are better illustrated with sketches or demonstrations, that’s another benefit of the video medium. Additionally, these videos can be posted on internal and external websites to inspire others to submit their own ideas.
Dedicated Social Media Channels
Many organizations today don’t just have a Facebook or Twitter account for their brand; they have pages dedicated to various aspects of the company, like community efforts, recruitment, as well as customer service and support. It goes without saying that similar pages could be created to engage customers and employees and solicit suggestions and feedback.
It’s a little more work for your social media manager, but very much worth it in the end. Your audience is on social media, so it’s important to use it not only for sales and PR opportunities, but to get their ideas and make them feel engaged directly in your organization.
These are just a few examples. If you’ve found other ways to collect suggestions for your organization, let me know in the Comment section below.
Join My Email List
Speaking of great suggestions, here’s one for you… join my email list! Just complete the form on the right side of the page and prepare to be delighted and dazzled by my weekly e-newsletter!