If you want your business to innovate with its customers, start by building a customer community that others can vote on and contribute to so that the company can pull the idea through the process, said Mike Fauscette, Group VP, Software Business Solutions at IDC, in his presentation “Leveraging Innovation Management for Competitive Advantage” at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City.
Once you have a tool that can collect customer interaction, take it one step further and let customers be involved in defining the process. It will open the doors to opportunity that you wouldn’t have had before, said Fauscette. Customer engagement improves dramatically once the customer feels they’re empowered to drive the business.
It’s also important to be visible and transparent. Meaning you want to set up a system that allows customers to contribute and know that they contributed, Fauscette continued.
Conducting social media and networking activities
The most popular reasons companies conduct social media/networking activities for their business are (in order of popularity):
- Gather feedback on company product or service
- Respond to customer/partner inquiries
- Competitors are doing it
- Communicate with partners/suppliers
- Communicate with customers
- Create awareness about company product or service
- Make decisions
Creating a collaborative enterprise for the purpose of innovation
Crowdsourcing and collaboration unlocks distributed expertise that simply couldn’t be found by any other means. Contributing across groups and disciplines is very empowering to employees who realize they can have an impact beyond the four walls of their cubicle.
While so many companies say they want their employees to collaborate, it’s not reflected in how employees are being paid, which is often to work individually. If you want employees to collaborate, you have to build it into the culture and they have to be incentivized to do it, said Fauscette.