This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.
Now….Imagine for a moment that you were unhappy with a company. Maybe a service they provided stopped being valuable to you. Maybe their product sucked and you wanted them to know why it let you down. Or, perhaps the company rocks and you wish you could tell them how much you really love what they’re doing.
What would you do?
How would you get this information to them?
Well, if you were me, you’d probably turn to Twitter and fire off how you feel in 140 characters or less. (Trust me–this is how I typically correspond with companies when I’ve got something important to say!).
You hope that someone on the other end of your rant or praise is actually listening.
Suddenly, you hear a piiiinnnggg and you’ve got a notification that the company has responded. You feel excited that they actually responded.
But you wonder if it will make any difference. Surely the person on the other end of Twitter is some pimply-faced recent grad whose job it is to monitor the pulse of the company on social media, right?
However, will your feedback actually reach the people that actually make decisions about that company?
You really have no idea what their feedback loop consists of, especially when dealing with large corporations.
For us bloggers, you know that loop is pretty tight; most times its us on the other end and we hear you.
But for big companies, how would you know your feedback on social media reaches those at the top who are responsible for policies, products, and customer service?
That’s the thing.
But one company, Nationwide, wanted me to share with you something they’ve been doing for over 60 years that essentially prevents you from having to take to Twitter or some other social media platform to air your opinions about their services.
It’s called the Member Connections program.
What is the Member Connections Program?
You know I’ll always love social media and how connecting it can be with brands and customers (or blogs and readers).
It’s a project that brings together Nationwide’s members to share feedback and discuss what’s important to them. This feedback they receive helps to shape the direction of the company and the services they provide.
It’s like they’ve essentially removed the middle man and brought members into the conversation about what’s working and what’s not. The goal is to educate Nationwide members about what it means to be part of a mutual company, to get their feedback, and to further strengthen their relationship with the company.
Most of the feedback given over the past 60 years has been positive and people have expressed how valuable they feel that Nationwide has is to them. Members have been able to have a voice and have had the opportunity to deepen their relationship with their insurer.
It sounds like a focus group, but it’s not. Focus groups give feedback before something is launched.
These conversations are based on Members’ voices after policies and processes are in place. The meetings allow the members a chance to provide feedback and tell Nationwide what they’re doing well and what they need to improve.
The more I learn about these meetings, the more I realize that I should be holding my own meetings! Suddenly the lightbulb went off.
Call it a light bulb moment….
How Every Blogger and Business Should Be Getting Feedback
Yep, we’ve all seen those emails in our inbox: “Take our survey!” and “Tell us what you think!”
Seriously…Do you ever complete these?
I’ll be honest with you–I rarely do.
Either because I don’t care or because I feel like my individual opinion doesn’t get heard.
They don’t care who Serena Appiah is. They don’t know me from the next customer.
But when you’re meeting with a company face to face, listening to them voice their praise and concerns, their opinions take on a whole new importance.
They’re a person with thoughts and feelings.
Their valuable opinions can change what a company does and how it moves forward.
So why aren’t more businesses, including bloggers, doing their own type of “connections” meetings?
Why are we simply sending out surveys, crossing our fingers that people think we’re important enough to respond?
Maybe we should learn a thing or two from Nationwide.
And that’s just what I’m doing.
So I’m going to put together my own Reader Connections meetings!
I haven’t decided how they’ll look yet, but I imagine they’ll be online Skype meetings where I can listen to what readers have to say about Thrift Diving.
I imagine I would offer a small incentive for providing feedback, such as a gift card or maybe one of my Thrift Diving tees.
It’s really a great idea!
Not only would it provide readers a way to tell me directly what they think, but it would foster even stronger bonds with them.
Thanks for the idea, Nationwide! Hope you don’t mind me shamelessly borrowing your idea. 😉
Learn More About Nationwide’s Member Connections Meetings
In the meantime, to learn more about the Member Connections Meetings, visit their website to find a meeting near you.
Here’s a PDF document that Nationwide had put together that recaps their meetings and what members wanted and what they wanted from Nationwide.
More companies should make the effort to get this up close and personal with the driving force (i.e. PEOPLE) that make a business what it is.
And the same is true for bloggers.
We need to be up close and personal with our readers to make sure that we’re delivering maximum value and that we’re headed in the right direction.
I’m excited to have found out about these meetings, and I’m even more excited to borrow the idea for my own business. 😉