C2C: Customers can help each other

Everyone in the service sector knows about the acronyms B2C and B2B – business-to-customer and business-to-business. It describes the nature of a business; are they marketing goods or services to end consumers – like a retailer – or to other businesses, like an IT services firm?

But what about the acronym C2C? A customer-to-customer interaction? It’s an acronym that is being used increasingly by firms finding that often the best way to support their customers is to introduce them to other existing customers who are willing and able to support the product.

That doesn’t sound like much of a service does it? But it really works and can be especially effective for low-margin services that still need a level of support, for example a sim-only mobile phone product.

In the same way, people give their time for free to Wikipedia, just earning kudos for their participation, many consumers are happy to demonstrate their expertise with products like telephones and other consumer electronic devices. If that enthusiasm to demonstrate expertise can be channelled into helping peers through a process of ‘crowdsourcing’ the support then it can be highly effective.

Some are critical of this method, pointing to the lack of consistency in services delivered by peers, but other commentators believe it is the future for many types of electronic product.

What do you think, and how best can it be made to work for consumers who want an immediate – and reliable – answer?
Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting for Coldplay

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