In the age of social media and instant commentary, businesses have gained many indispensible tools to help move their products. The ability to simply ask and receive actual, meaningful answers is a goal that would seem absurd, even insane just ten years ago. However, in this day and age, it’s the norm. Vistaprint corresponds with customers on Facebook, FUNimation engages its customers on Twitter, and even unlikely organizations like Bandai Namco maintain active Facebook communities. These communities, if nurtured, can serve as invaluable tools for those who know what to work with

Every comment and every post, be it positive or negative, yields an insight into that particular’s customers, wants and needs, as well as whether they’re being met. How this input is treated goes a long way in determining whether a customer puts his faith in the company, or whether he’ll take his money elsewhere. In short, it determines just how likeable a company can be, and how human a face it can take on as it works with customers.

With a trusting community, one can gather incredible insight on how an organization should change, or remain the same. Simple questions of “What are we doing right?” and “How would you change things if you had the chance?” can produce surprisingly frank and honest answers from the community. Simple apologies and quick resolutions can do wonders in converting detractors and irate customers into advocates. Even random questions of “What types of anime do you enjoy the most?” can determine where a business like FUNimation or Section23 can most wisely invest its limited resources.

So, tonight, in the spirit of this commentary, I’d like to pose a brief question: What one thing would you change about us, given the chance? Is there a feature you want more of? Less of? Something you’d like to see in general? The ball is in your court.