What is a Q&A?
A Q&A (question and answer) session is an activity in which the first party will answer the questions of the second party, In this case, the first party would be the company/business, whilst the second party would be the consumer base. Q&As provide the perfect opportunity for the company to receive much-needed feedback.
Why Is Feedback important?
Feedback can be key when communicating with an audience. Simply stating the companies plan for the future with no regard for how the consumer base might respond can prove detrimental to that plan. In addition to this collecting feedback gives the company the opportunity to address customer concerns and calm distressed customers.
Shannon and Weaver’s (1951) theory of communication demonstrates the flow of information from the company to the audience, travelling from sender to message to channel and finally to the receiver. once the message has reached its destination it is the responsibility of the company to seek feedback in order to improve the delivery of future messages.
Shari Harley on the importance of feedback
(Harley, S. 2018)
- Cost efficient: Producing an online Q&A is a simple as posting a question, depending on the platform the company chooses to use the cost can change.
- Quick Results: It’s quick and easy to collect results online. Meaning that result can be collected and reviewed in as little as 24 hours, with no need to rely on external third party businesses.
- User Anonymity: Respondents feel more at ease when they aren’t forced to disclose their opinion under their real identities. which can help to produce more accurate results and feedback.
- Scalability: An online survey can allow you to reach a far wider audience in relation to the relative cost of producing it.
- Dishonesty: Respondents may not be 100 percent truthful with their answers. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including social desirability bias and attempting to protect privacy.
- Lack of personalization: Material that is unpersonalized can often turn away some recipients as they feel the Q&A is not inclusive enough.
- Accessibility issues: If the platform that the material is posted on is not accessible to as many of the customers as possible, then it becomes difficult to collect a wide range of feedback and responses.
Choosing a Channel
When creating a Q&A it is important to choose a platform that would be accessible to the majority of the consumer base. One social media platform that provides a solid groundwork for hosting a Q&A session would be Twitter. Twitter allows users to ‘tweet’ out messages to their followers that they can comment on and respond to the idea being to open discussion between the business and customer.
Twitter gives its users the tools to help promote themselves to wider audiences,
Wide Hat Media recommend;
- Pick a winning hashtag: The right hashtag would be key to drawing in those potential customers who might not be aware of the Q&A, using concise and informative hashtags gives a clear representation of what the post is trying to convey.
- Promote yourself shamelessly: Ensure that you tell your audience about your Q&A. any promotion material should include information about the time, date as well as what will be covered. Try to include hashtags where possible.
- Consistent event times: If the event is recurring try to establish a set date and time at which the event will be held, for example, the Q&A may be held weekly at 8pm on Twitter.
- Tweet at an optimal time Chooses a time at which the majority of your consumer base will be able to participate in the Q&A.
For more tips on running a Q&A on Twitter (http://www.whitehatmedia.com/blog/how-run-awesome-twitter-qa)
A successful Q&A session doesn’t end at the point that the question is asked. In order to hold a successful Q&A, you try to follow and inform your audience of the results of the Q&A and the feedback that has been taken on board, and the changes that will be because of this activity.
Left Right Labs released an article on the best way to follow up on a Q&A and the Incentives that can help promote recipient responses.
Online Q&As are a low cost, high potential activity. Ideally, businesses will use them to improve customer interactions in the long run, by ensuring consistent posts alongside incentives that help to drive interactions. the more reactions the business receives the more useful feedback they’ll have available to make the changes that consumers require.
Burks, A., Shannon, C. and Weaver, W. (1951). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. The Philosophical Review, 60(3), p.398.
Left Right Labs. (2018). How to run a successful Facebook Q&A session. [online] Available at: https://leftrightlabs.com/how-to-run-a-successful-facebook-qa-session/ [Accessed 26 Feb. 2018].
Merlo, O. (2018). Why Customer Participation Matters.
Whitehatmedia.com. (2018). How to Run an Awesome Twitter Q&A. [online] Available at: http://www.whitehatmedia.com/blog/how-run-awesome-twitter-qa [Accessed 26 Feb. 2018].
YouTube. (2018). Shari Harley, MA, CSP -Why is Feedback Important?-. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kob1men59HM [Accessed 26 Feb. 2018].