What if, instead of constantly pushing for the next sale, you could work with them to design the products they want?
Customer co-creation is a growing trend, with 70% of companies that are considered to deliver exceptional customer experience relying on customer feedback as their guiding source for improvement. So it’s unsurprising to hear that brands from LEGO all the way to Manchester City FC are working with their consumers to co-create better products, services and experiences.
Co-creation should be an integral part of a company’s innovation strategy as it brings a company closer to their consumers. The ultimate goal? Improved output from the company’s end, and a more enriched relationship with the brand from the consumer end. When a company goes down the path of creating customer communities, they are taking the conversation with the customer to the next level and acknowledging there is more than one expert.
We’ve experienced this first-hand at Sensis, and are committed to continuing to build a customer-centred future. We value our customers’ insights and feedback on all aspects of their experience working with us, from first purchasing a service through to delivery. Through our new community, Sensis Voice, we are creating a truly collaborative experience so our customers can help us shape the future of Sensis.
So how can you co-create in your own business? Here are five lessons we’ve learnt while establishing Sensis Voice.
The first step it to set the direction of your customer community. What is the business challenge you’d like to address, who is the audience you want to connect with, and why should your customers want to take part?
At Sensis, our direction was the desire to understand customer problems before providing a solution.
Create a forum of your ideal customers. This could be a formal forum or portal, like we’ve created with Sensis Voice, or you could engage with your customers on social media to start the conversation about their wants and needs.
If you do have direct communication with your customer community, such as via email or a private forum, it’s also a good idea to ask them to fill in a profile questionnaire, which we do to help us better understand our members.
Once you have an engaged audience, share your ideas with them, or have them suggest their own. Keep in mind that the questions you ask and ideas you propose need to strike a balance between being too broad or too narrow – too broad, and you’ll struggle to get meaningful feedback. Too narrow, and only subject matter experts will be able to respond. Striking the right balance will inspire your community to work with you to refine and develop your ideas.
You can then use this information to start developing new product or service concepts.
Once you have some new concepts, the next step is returning to your customer community to test them. Will these products and services address their needs or not? Are they interested with and engaging with the idea or are they disinterested?
These tests will inform which ideas you should pursue, which need further development, and which you should abandon.
The final stage is launching your new product, giving your community members the opportunity to become beta users and provide feedback before the public launch – we do this via surveys, forums and polls. These members will then become your first testimonials and case studies, and can help generate word-of-mouth buzz before the official launch.
Introducing Sensis Voice
Launched in March 2017, Sensis Voice is a community that invites the insights and opinions of customers who join. Sensis Voice is about giving its members the opportunity to co-design Sensis products and services via their participation in surveys and research forums.
It is an exciting initiative that has already grown into an engaged community. So far, our members have shared with us their best and worst service experiences to their marketing education needs to what they would like to see offered in their digital products. We can now work on improving in these areas based on these insights provided by the community.
Sensis Voice is where customers and Sensis truly intersect. A customer community is about prioritising the customers voice and Sensis Voice seeks to reward their members both intrinsically (via the opportunity to co-create Sensis’s future) and financially (because who doesn’t like to win prizes?).
Elizabeth Hannon, Marketing Coordinator, Sensis