The Contribution Revolution: Making Customer Content Part of Customer Service

Imagine that you are a maker of shoes in Austin, or a law firm in Miami. What if your customers were able to provide comments, assistance, help, etc to each other in a forum? What if this forum were not locked away behind some password protected portal but infused throughout your web site, or within any software applications you produce?
Intuit’s founder Scott Cook speaks about the power of customer contributions in a Harvard Business Review podcast. You can read his article here.
He writes OK, I’m not saying you can or should transform your company into a Google or a Skype whose business model is primarily based on user contributions. But you should understand the power of the phenomenon and, as I have, learn from the growing number of companies in traditional industries—firms like Honda, Procter & Gamble, Best Buy, and Hyatt—that are tapping user contributions to improve products, better serve customers, generate new business, reduce costs, boost employee performance, and more. Contribution-driven results like those are achievable for pretty much any business.
Earlier today I was looking for some help in Microsoft Access’ database. I really didn’t find what I was looking for. In Intuit’s QuickBooks and in other programs, the help you need for an application is available right within the application and is context sensitive. If you are working on writing a report, the help you see is relevant to reports and is generated by users.
Scott says that many companies are using user generated contributions to help provide better and faster customer service with powerful results.
The POWER of the crowd is amazing, which is why Google is one of the best spots to go to for technical support. Type in a question related to the problem you are having on your computer and you’ll find an answer most all the time.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook