Listen and learn

Listening to customers isn’t a new concept but (most) companies have come a long way from those comment cards in small wooden boxes.

Dell computers has Ideastorm, a website where anyone can go on and post an idea, suggestion or even (gasp) a complaint.

dell-ideastorm1

Starbucks has a similar site at MyStarbucksIdea.com.

mystarbucksidea

One customer posted his idea requesting the ability to “buy a friend a coffee” remotely. The idea has 35,450 total points and 272 comments (and counting). There is even an official response from Starbucks letting users know that this idea is now “under rest view” by management.

starbucks_buyyouadrink

Sites like Ideastorm and MyStarbucks are brilliant. They push the envelope by not just listening to customers but allowing them to participate in the entire idea generation and implementation process.

Dell and Starbucks now know:

1) What their customers like
2) What their customers don’t like
3) What their customers want that they don’t have

How are you listening to your customers? How are you capturing what might be your company’s best new idea?

Sites of this scale aren’t necessary for all companies but if you have thousands of customers in multiple locations and the only way you “listen” to them is a support email address or a Twitter account, it’s time to upgrade the wooden box.

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