Monday, July 29, 2013

How to get more ideas from your customers



Getting more ideas from your customers: “We need just one more idea to reach our goal”!

One way to get customers to contribute ideas to your challenge is to let them know you almost have the number of ideas you are shooting for.

A key part of a successful collaborative innovation strategy is to make certain you communicate the team’s successes.  It is a terrific way to let customers know their efforts are being rewarded.  Armed with this knowledge those customers who collaborate gain enthusiasm for continuing to provide contributions.

So although it may seem like a small thing...
...showing off or reporting the progress your customers are making (toward the number of ideas you’ve set as your goal) will spur additional ideas and participation.

You know that big poster of a thermometer on the village square that notes the progress of the fund raising project?  Well it seems that works. 

Customers are more likely to contribute when the goals are close to being reached.
This means I should give you two pieces of advice when launching your idea challenge to customers... 
          1.      Shoot for an attainable target number of ideas
          2.     Raise the goal as the challenge progresses




Celebrate Quick Wins
Celebrating victories, accomplishments and milestones with your customers in the Innovation process is an important step in demonstrating a senior level company endorsement of the notion “we’re interested in what you have to say, Mr./Mrs. Customers”. 
By stopping to celebrate progress, to recognize a given customer’s accomplishments and reflect on the work completed thus far, it is also possible to evaluate the overall Innovation effort and course correct, if necessary.


You can communicate the progress of the challenge; the number of ideas “achieved” so far by posting a progress chart on the customer feedback portal dashboard, by sending out a daily, weekly, or a monthly newsletter or by sending an email directly to the customer contributors noting the progress everyone has made to date. 


In conclusion
When you ask Customers for ideas, set a goal of an attainable number of ideas for the challenge.  Raise the goal number of ideas as the challenge progresses.  Communicate the progress of the challenge to the customer contributor community.

Cryder, C. et al., “Goal Gradient in Helping Behavior,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming).

Ron Shulkin blogs, researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web site:www.shulkin.net. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.   

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem. CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation. CogniStreamer has been rated as a “Leader” in Forrester’s recent Wave report on Innovation Management Tools. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60. Ron also manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).


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