Using digital tools to listen to customers can help you achieve a much richer picture of what they want and need. At least that's what the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills' (BIS) Focus on Enforcement team found when they wanted a worm's eye view of how organisations and individuals experience the enforcement of regulation. They wanted to know where enforcement was working well, and where it could be improved, reduced or done differently.
The team launched a microsite in March 2012 to complement the traditional consultation process. They posed a different question each week, keeping the language simple and engaging. They used Google Analytics to track the number of visits and comments, identifying peaks and troughs that helped them establish what worked and what didn't and make changes accordingly. They also blogged and used Twitter to drive people to the site.
BIS got their first responses within hours of launch - unthinkable in a paper consultation. And they found they reached a much wider audience, including more small and medium enterprises, individuals and frontline enforcement officers. The speed of response also meant they could react to emerging issues and test ideas quickly with a range of audiences.
The team also built their own confidence and capability in using digital tools and that, alongside data analytics helped them persuade sceptics in BIS of the worth of the approach.