Your company probably has a department dedicated to improving public image and finding out “what our customer wants”, but let’s face it, you have no idea. Everyone is a critic and now social media allows customers the option to love or hate your ideas publicly. However it also provides the opportunity to ask public input. (It’s much harder for someone to give your company a bad review, when you implemented their ideas!). Chapter 9 of Groundswell are focused on embracing and incorporating customer ideas. The textbook provides a few literary examples of authors who have successfully embraced the customer opinion. If you are interested in this subject, I would suggest Wikinomics!
-Democratizing Innovation – by Eric Von Hippel
-Outside Innovation: How your customer will co-design your company’s future – by Patricia B. Seybold
-Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything – by Anthony D. Williams
There are several companies that demonstrate this approach to business. Apple for example has embraced customer opinions and created the App store. Here individuals or companies can create and sell mobile applications that customers show demand for. Essentially, this allows them to gain profits due to increased customer usage/convenience. However, it more importantly positions Apple as a customer driven company with uniquely customizable products. The speed in which apps are developed and available it also remarkable – once a demand is presented, an app usually becomes available. However, this kind of business also creates high competition. If an app becomes obsolete due to a newer version, it can result in negative reviews (even though the app was originally designed to meet the specific needs of their customer). This provides incentive for companies to constantly search for customer input and make changes as required!
for more information on the App Store: http://www.apple.com/iphone/from-the-app-store/
Until next blog…