One of the techniques Toyota has used to try to minimize the customer satisfaction hit they took earlier this year is a new Social Media technique – Digg Dialoggs.

Why is Digg Dialoggs important?

Organizations watching over the customer satisfaction need techniques to provide feedback to users on what they are doing to improve their problems. Digg Dialoggs is one of the new Web techniques business and public relation firms can use, as part of their kit bag of communication techniques’ to get their message across to customers. What is fascinating about Digg Dialoggs is the way users can ask for feedback from a business and then as a public community, vote on what questions they want asked.

Digg Dialogg is one such communication Vehicle but to understand it, you first need to understand what Digg is.

What is a Digg ?

To quote from Digg’s website: “Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. You won’t find editors at Digg — we’re here to provide a place where people can collectively determine the value of content and we’re changing the way people consume information online.

How do we do this? Everything on Digg — from news to videos to images — is submitted by our community (that would be you). Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg what they like best. If your submission rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of our visitors to see.

And it doesn’t stop there. Because Digg is all about sharing and discovery, there’s a conversation that happens around the content. We’re here to promote that conversation and provide tools for our community to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about. By looking at information through the lens of the collective community on Digg, you’ll always find something interesting and unique. We’re committed to giving every piece of content on the web an equal shot at being the next big thing.”

The biggest benefit that Digg provides, as with other social bookmarking sites, is the ability for users to vote on the importance and interest of any thing posted on the web, a picture, a video, a blog post, a newspaper article. If found on the web, a user can post it to Digg and others will find it and rate it. The popular ones rise to the top.

What is Digg Dialogg?

Digg Dialogg is a platform within Digg that allows users to post question to ‘Notable leaders and Luminaries.  Users can request who they would like to see interviewed. Then, users, rather than journalists, are the ones to enter the questions  to be asked and vote on the most popular ones. Instead of ‘Meet the Press’, it is ‘Meet the Public”. It’s like a ‘Town Hall Meeting’ except the interview is one on one with a Digg correspondent and the person being interviewed. The top 10 questions are selected after voting and the correspondent then engages the ‘leader’ to respond to the top questions.

How Did Toyota Use the Digg Dialogg Interview?

Toyota’s US President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Lentz was interviewed in February, 2010. There were over 1000 questions submitted by users. The top question got 289 votes. The 10th question had 61 votes. Interesting of the top 10 questions, only 5 dealt with the problems related to the  recent Toyota recall. Despite the terrible press about Toyota, half the questions dealt with other issues. Here were the Top 10 questions asked of Jim Lentz.

1. What do you drive?

2.How far along is Toyota on moving into some truly gas free cars in the future? Are these kinds of vehicles even possible or feasible in our current lifetime?

3. I was a General Manager of one of your largest dealerships in the US. I was aware that this problem dates back to 2004. In fact, there was a death involved in a sudden acceleration incident at an Atlantic City Hotel in a Camry that our dealership sold. At this point is Toyota’s position going to change as to the dates involved?

4. When will Toyota start making hybrid cars that aren’t ugly as sin?

5. A former Toyota attorney has stated the company has known about these issues for at least three years, yet did nothing. He charges that Japanese Toyota executives instead covered up the problems. Are these charges true? And, whether or not they are, there are reports that Toyota has known since 2007 of the gas pedal problems. Why wasn’t this dealt with sooner?

6. It has been years since Toyota had a sports car (Supra) available for sale in North America. Are there any plans to bring back the Supra or come out with a new affordable sports car?

7. Mr. Lentz, I’m currently in the market for a new car, and until the recalls, the 2010 Prius was at the top of my list. I’m now back to square one and researching other manufacturers’ hybrids. While Toyota’s issues with acceleration and braking issues may be isolated, it has become clear that your company did not address these issues proactively or in a timely fashion. What is your message to non-Toyota drivers who may still be interested in your cars, but are very concerned about Toyota’s response to the current crisis?

8. Toyota has electronic data recorders in the cars — yet they refused to release the data when I was in a crash, and it would have proven that the accident was not my fault. So I lost my car, my health and thousands of dollars. And now you say you can’t track down the cause of this problem. Why not release the electronic data?

9. In the world of today, why does Toyota still produce 5 types of SUV’s, is that not excessive?

10. Did you hear about Steve Wozniak’s software problem with his Toyota Prius?

Here’s the full interview:  While watching the video, if you move your mouse, you will see the progress bar. There are   buttons on the bottom so you can skip to the question you want to hear the answer to. That’s remarkable!

What lessons can be learned from this technique?

Digg Dialogg is another communication technique to provide feedback to customers in a customer satisfaction strategy. The advantage of Digg Dialogg is that the users feel they have some control over the questions being asked. With proper preparation, an organization can look responsive to customers and their concerns.  If done well, this open attitude  and honest answers cannot help but improve customer satisfaction. In Toyota’s case, the video of Jim Lentz was viewed by over 1 Million Views in the first 5 days after it was produced.

What is your opinion? Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

One Response to “New Customer Satisfaction and PR Tool – Digg Dialogg Interview Series”

  1. Tweets that mention New Customer Satisfaction Tool - Digg Dialogg Interviews | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adele Berenstein. Adele Berenstein said: Toyota US President answered consumer top 10 questions on a Digg Dialogg but half had nothing to do with the recall. http://icio.us/fq3wqb […]

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