The DC Government & Social Media

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The local government in the nation’s capital is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to a startup to gather comments on Twitter, Facebook and other online message boards as well as the government’s own website. The data help form a letter grade for the bureaucracies that handle drivers licenses, building permits and the like.”

I’m not too surprised about this, and find that its a bit sooner than I would have thought. The idea of using social media to listen to your customers and then improve your products and services is not a new concept. It’s certainly our flagship missing at American Public University System – where we use social media to make sure our student experience is exceptional. But we’re known for being a social media savvy organization.

So it’s surprising to hear that traditionally conservative and innovation-lacking government agencies would have social media on their radar. But as we have seen in the last 24 months, public safety organizations have turned to social media to distribute important news alerts, and non-profits rely on it to engage with their constituencies. So, it only makes sense that folks who have been leveraging social media have migrated to some of these agencies; or through professional networks the agencies have realized social media can be a great tool for customer service.

The article goes on to discuss how the agencies have reacted to complaints – moving customer service staff who don’t deliver positive customer experiences to other positions where they don’t have to interact with the public. While humorous, this will go a long way to holding employees at government agencies more accountable for their actions; and perhaps will motivate under-performing individuals to step up their game and help redefine agencies like the DMV.

Read the full article here (subscription to the WSJ may be required):

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