I found this research by MIT’s Duncan Simester on “Deception” in online reviews very insightful. Please note particularly:
“We are not sure why apparently loyal customers post negative reviews about products they have never purchased. One reason may be that they are acting as self-appointed brand managers. They like the company, but when they see it selling a product or doing something else they don’t approve of, they post the reviews as a way to give feedback to the company, even on products they have not purchased. An alternative explanation is that the negative reviewers seek to enhance their perceived social status by raising their on-line stature by posting with great frequency or detail.”
How can companies provide these loyal customers with better outlets for their feedback?
I found this IKEA application for placing their products in their customers’ home very insightful. Please note particularly:
“The 2014 IKEA catalogue gives you the ability to place virtual furniture in your own home with the help of augmented reality. Unlock the feature by scanning selected pages in the 2014 printed IKEA catalogue with the IKEA catalogue application (available for iOS and Android) or by browsing the pages in the digital 2014 IKEA catalogue on your smartphone or tablet. Then simply place the printed IKEA catalogue where you want to put the furniture in your room, choose a product from a selection of the IKEA range and see how it will look in your home!”
I found this ModCloth Speedy Supply Chain for Fast Fashion strategy very instructive. Please note particularly how ModCloth include its customers in the buying process:
“In a program it calls “Be the Buyer,” ModCloth lets online shoppers vote on dresses and jewelry designs they would like to purchase, before the company places an order with a supplier. The company tracks comments, such as one that suggests a dress would look good without a particular kind of ruffle. ModCloth often makes adjustments with suppliers and tracks how votes in the program affect ultimate purchases and predicts demand. Shoppers participating in ModCloth’s “Be the Buyer” votes tend to purchase twice as much, Mr. Shotts says.”
I found this Hyatt Lab concept very inspiring. Hyatt has converted nine of its hotels, including the Grand Hyatt San Francisco Hotel, into proof-of-concept laboratories:
“About a year ago, Hyatt Hotels started using nine of its hotels around the world as lab hotels, experimenting with new concepts and prototypes. Now Hyatt is encouraging local managers around the world to examine their customer feedback and test new ideas.
This has been a paradigm shift, Mr. Semenchuk said. “A year ago we didn’t talk about failure,” he said, but now, “we tell them fail fast, fail cheap and learn from it. Take a week, illustrate a concept, and try it.” Managers, he said, should share what they have learned and move on.”
“New ideas can change significantly from drawing board to final offering. Last year, for example, Hyatt tried expanding its replacement and loaner services for guests who needed items like chargers or toiletries, by creating a test kiosk in a hotel lobby to supply guests with forgotten items. They soon found that guests were stocking up on supplies, rather than taking just what they needed for an overnight stay, and some of the female guests told workers they were embarrassed to take personal hygiene items in a public setting. The hotel manager called the other lab sites that were about to start similar test kiosks and told them to halt construction.”
I found this story on Marlin Steel’s road to resilience very inspiring for many reasons. Please note paricularly:
“The final line of defense for Marlin lies in the customers it targets: Greenblatt wants the toughest ones, the kind who make his competitors roll their eyes. “What I realized is that the customers who are a pain in the neck are really the great customers,” he says. “Some people might say, ‘Those guys [at Marlin] are crazy expensive.’ But we find the people who appreciate that. I’ve never sold anything to Walmart.”
I found this presentation on Trust through Transparency by HBS’ Michael Norton very instructive. According to Michael, operational transparency [or showing your work to your customers] can improve customer relationships:
“Think about all the places where you’re doing an enormous amount of work for your customers—and they have no idea that you’re doing it.”
Ross Dawson directed my attention to this Telstra Crowdsupport concept. Telstra is joining a growing list of companies who are collaborating with or leveraging their customers to support other customers. Please note particularly the following cases: Needle, Intuit, and GiffGaff.
One element of the Crowdsupport concept is the Videos By You Competition:
“We’re launching video Crowdsupport and want you to turn your talents to solving other customer queries using videos. We want you to create a ‘how to’ video, which other Telstra customers can use, based on one of our monthly competition briefs for a chance to win our monthly prize. Each month Telstra will select the top 10 entry videos to be judged by the CrowdSupport community and the video with the highest number of votes will win.”