If you’re like many companies, you’re already aware of the importance of the “voice of the customer”. Customers will share their thoughts and feelings whether you give them a platform or not. Too many businesses simply let customers say what they will, and feel powerless to control it. Fortunately, you aren’t powerless – far from it!
Smart organizations harness the power of that voice to help improve their company’s products and services. By using a crowdsourcing platform, you can benefit from your customers’ insights while also having more control over what comments go public. It’s a powerful system.
Where Your Customers Share Now
Right now, your customers and prospects are talking about your brand, your products, and your service. In the age of social media, they have countless ways to do so. Many organizations are looking for ways to find out what is being said, and use the feedback to grow.
Unfortunately, that’s very difficult with the incredible variety of social media sources. Not only do you have to monitor Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and more, but there are other avenues as well. Your customers are talking about you on review sites, and face-to-face with their friends and family.
Finding ways to aggregate and sift through all of the data takes hours to yield any useful insights. You can get distracted by “haters”, who have fun tearing down companies for no reason. And ultimately, you have no control over who sees the feedback, when, and why. There has to be a better way, and there is.
How to Gather Feedback through Crowdsourcing
Merriam-Webster defines crowdsourcing as “the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”
In simpler terms, this means that you solicit feedback from your customers, give them a platform to share on, participate in the conversations, and gain incredible insights. You do all of this while controlling the space where everything is shared.
There are a variety of benefits of having an innovation platform to crowdsource customer feedback. Here are just a few:
- Customers feel heard. Rather than complaining to the public, customers realize their feedback is going straight to someone in the company, allowing them to feel heard and important.
- Ideas are organized. Instead of having to search through thousands of unrelated comments and organize them into something coherent, an innovation platform for your crowdsourced feedback is organized. People can submit comments or suggestions in a variety of specific categories, allowing you to organize the feedback automatically.
- You control the platform. Not only can you eliminate the noise of people who enjoy causing problems, but you can also keep things from going public until your organization is ready.
- You can create incentives. Many social media sites have restrictions on what kinds of incentives are allowed. When you control the platform, you can offer whatever incentives you like. For example, someone who has five comments verified as helpful can get a coupon. You can offer free products or services to the top suggestion in a category. You can allow other customers to vote on certain ideas, and give an incentive to the person with the most votes. The possibilities are endless.
Crowdsourcing Builds Loyalty
Customers share about brands they love and hate because they want to be heard. They want their ideas and experiences to be validated. Making customers feel appreciated and listened to not only brings you new ideas, but it helps build loyalty to your brand.
When your organization listens to customers and makes changes to reflect customer needs, your clients will realize that you care about them. Unfortunately, this is rare in today’s business environment. But that just means that crowdsourcing ideas, listening, and implementing those changes will make you stand out.
Loyalty gives your company a variety of benefits. It’s well known that getting a new customer is more expensive than getting a repeat purchase from an existing customer. Even more importantly, studies show that even a 5% increase in customer retention raises profits by 25% – 95%
In the end, crowdsourcing from your customers helps your company in several ways. First, you get the benefits of hearing first-hand from customers what they like, don’t like, and would like to see developed. Secondly, you control the innovation platform so you can remove unhelpful noise and privately handle both complaints and product development ideas. Finally, you’ll build company loyalty, which will cut costs and dramatically increase your organization’s profits.
For more ideas, take a look at how Sheetz Inc. crowdsources ideas from their customers using IdeaScale.