Saturday, August 3, 2013
While that may cause several of us to giggle at the dictatorship of management, if you run a member-based organization and/or online community, are asking your members' opinions/preferences and not listening to their answers, you are essentially doing the same thing.
Why is non-response such a bad thing? What if you can't do what they want? Asking someone's opinion is empowering. It makes them feel valued and a part of what you're doing. Not listening to it, is like giving a tacit Office Space-style, "Uh, yeah. I don't think so." Does that mean you have to do everything a member suggests? Of course not. But be prepared to answer why you're not able to accommodate them (or do so at this time). Use it as a diving-in point for a discussion on the future.
There are so many amazing tools out there both paid and free and ways to use social media as a testing and opinion platform. To their credit, many groups have started doing this. But the ask isn't enough. You must follow through, especially if you notice that what your members are asking for is something you're not currently doing. If you don't plan on following through and changing you offerings, practices, etc., don't ask and cancel all future member surveys.