Consultations with Children / Young People

Involving children and young people in developing services

Customer service feedback is seldom sought from children and young people. However, the not for profit sector and public sectors have been doing it for a long time!

15 years ago I was leading on huge participation and consultation projects for 5 – 13 year olds. This was for services that affected them. Why not then involve them in the private sector too?

So, why does this demographic get overlooked when gaining feedback on products and services in the private sector? There are various reasons, but mainly because people don’t know how to gain feedback, they use the same methods as they would with adults or they don’t understand the significance of the potential feedback.

Still don’t see the importance?


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5 key points for involving children and young people

1) Parents and carers, generally speaking, listen to their children’s opinions on many things! If they need to buy something, from sausages to an iPhone, their child is going to have input on that decision, whether you already realise this, or not.

2) Children and young people are consulted and participate in decision making in many areas of their school and wider life even if this is just limited to school councils. They now expect to be listened to, so ignore them at your peril, as they will vote with their feet

3) As well as current consumers, albeit through their parents/carers, children are the consumers of the future. Good experiences with companies’ products or services now will develop their loyalty.

4) Young people are Internet and Social Media savvy. Whatever your product/service they’ll be writing about it, even if you don’t understand the language they use! On Facebook and Twitter a couple of lines from one young person and that message could reach just as many as if an adult sends it. If your target audience is young people over the age of 13 this is far more significant!

5) Children and young people are unlikely to write to your Customer Service department or fill in feedback forms!

How to consult with children and young people to improve your business

So how do you consult with children and young people? Creatively! You can’t expect to go into a school and just ask children either, even if you offer a cash incentive, there’s far more to be considered!

The Complaining Cow has led work on consultation and participation for children and young people for many years. This has included commissioning, and jointly managing, the largest play consultation in the UK with 12,000 5 – 13 year olds taking part. For this project innovative drama and art based workshops were the key method of enabling participation. Helen works with qualified, skilled practitioners experienced in gaining the views of children and young people using art, drama and technology to gain the most useful feedback possible.

Discuss with the Complaining Cow techniques for gaining high quality feedback and be armed with far more knowledge than your competitors!

Prices vary depending on size of project. But as general rule of thumb consultancy is £1,750 a day.

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