Customer Ideas and Involvement

Sometimes the best ideas come from your customers. After all, they are the ones looking to purchase from you, utilize them to help drive your business to the next level. As a company, your best interest is the customer because if you can sell or provide them what they want or are interested in, they are more likely to convert.

It seems that, in general, people like to have a say in the things they buy, own, or consume. Take the example of food – while McDonald’s McCafe is growing up its own customer base rather quickly, there still many die-hard Starbucks fans. Taking the facts of coffee quality and price aside, you’re left with options. I see that McCafe is trying to give the customer more options but at Starbucks you are pretty much free to customize your coffee any way you want.

An article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) titled, “The Customer Knows Best,” gives several examples of companies who have involved their customers or prospects in the design of a product or just tried to get ideas from the people to generate discussion. This works because if the customer has invested their time and opinion into what you are producing or selling, that product or service will be more suited to what they desire, thus making them more likely to buy.

One example from the WSJ article is about Local Motors Inc. (small-scale auto maker) who started to let people upload designs onto their website. They give out prizes to the designs they like best and then incorporate those designs into the cars they build. Another example I have is from our very own company. Awhile back we held a contest to engage customers to help create a design for one of our pens. The outcome was a great success as we were able to receive some awesome contributions, but people very much enjoy the winning design.

Bottom Line: Engage your customers, you may learn something you didn’t know about and can use to drive sales or leads.