As more companies turn to “crowdsourcing” for business feedback, the customer may not always be right but they’re definitely becoming more influential.
The term “crowdsourcing” means exactly what you might think. Rather than asking a handful of executives for advice on a corporate decision or product launch, companies are outsourcing opinions to the crowd-turning to their adoring (or sometimes critical) client base.
“You could crowdsource the building of a car if you wanted to,” said Phillip Wilson, author of The Next 52 Weeks: One Year to Transform Your Workplace and founder of the Labor Relations Institute. “But most companies are using it for advice on the design of something. It works well in the building of software and writing projects because it relies on the magic of the networking world.”
Companies that do well with crowdsourcing are open to learning from the “herd” said Wilson. A company has to be willing to learn from the people it comes into contact with. When customers give feedback they feel like they’re a part of the business, and as they grow more connected to a business they grow more connected to its products, Wilson said.
The social Web has broken a barrier, according to Wilson, who said that in the past some companies might have perceived asking its customers for advice as admitting a weakness. Today, a company is seen as “feeble” when it isn’t open to learning about its flaws.
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