“Are you relevant?”

Today, customers have greater choice and expect more.

This applies to our public and not-for-profit services, just as much as transactions with business.

You already know that your products and services cannot be all things to all people. Even if you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer, there are attributes (features and characteristics) of what you offer that will either appeal or be rejected by those on the receiving end of your hard-fought efforts.

In terms of quality, we strive to get things ‘right first time’, by building our systems and key processes to ensure product and service attributes ‘delight’ our customers.

So, where does relevance fit in, and why is it important?

In managing our systems and processes, we measure and analyse data. In fact, we can arguably create more data than we can cope with!

But let’s take some time to think about what really drives both failure and success: behaviour.

Whether an employee, patient, supplier, volunteer, customer, managing director or consultant (a takeholder) we all form perceptions of products and services – and they drive our behaviour.

We don’t like living in a world of uncertainty, so form these perceptions based on stored memories and experiences to minimise our energy consumption: we can’t start every day afresh – despite the perfectly uplifting quotes on picturesque backgrounds we see on social media.

The way you communicate content, the context you put it in and the contact you have with your stakeholders, all contribute to the stimulation of senses, feeling of community; and help form values. Your relevance.

It could be argued that many stakeholder engagement tools, such as online surveys, have become blunt instruments; with feverish attempts to gather business intelligence from us. Or find that data is harvested in the shadows by our online behaviour.

Why do we interrogate with lots of questions and answer options, when stakeholders are ready to tell us what matters most - if given the freedom to do so?

Have we lost the art of conversation? If we take the time to identify who our stakeholders are, and understand the value of building up our relevance, then it makes perfect sense to use technology to create open dialogue.

The Gobby platform asks open questions and asks peers to anonymously create ideas and vote on them to support innovation through a process of co-creating products and services.

Gary Beckwith, founder of Gobby, is a Quality Professional with over 25 years’ experience in service design and delivery.

If you would like to learn more about stakeholder engagement, and are as passionate as we are about making it meaningful, then visit us at www.gobby.app