Customers are driving innovation in your products

Please welcome Simon Dillsworth to the TP UK blog. Simon is a strategic account director focused on the technology industry.

This blog has mentioned customer service channel shift several times recently. Alistair even went so far as to suggest that this is likely to be the single most important theme of 2013 in the customer service business.

I’d like to consider another trend and how I think it is going to interact with the channel shift already taking place.

Customers used to be just consumers. They would purchase a product and that would be the last you ever hear of them, unless there is a problem that requires the use of the customer service function.

Now customers are far more than just passive consumers. They produce content across many channels in their own right.

Imagine you produce chocolate bars and other confectionary. How many photos, videos, and audio recordings are uploaded every day by fans of your products? Videos featuring your products used to be only possible in adverts or TV shows – now they are popping up on YouTube daily.

So customers are rapidly becoming the producers of content and ideas. It is the customers who can suggest ideas and innovations for your company. And that’s not something you need to solicit – they are probably already doing it if you go out and look at what is being said.

For years, drug companies have used loose networks of researchers all over the world – all contributing ideas via the Internet. Now the same principles can be applied to any business through better interaction with their own customers. The next wave of innovation is going to come directly from your customers and will be facilitated by the channel shift in customer service – they won’t be getting in touch to complain, they will be getting in touch with great new ideas.

Chocolate, Mercado de la Boquería, Barcelona (Spain), HDR

 

Photo by Marc licensed under Creative Commons

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