At MosquitoZone we had a client who complained and sometimes boycotted our malaria education products. She thought we could do better, and she was right. Finally, she made a suggestion that was too good to ignore. In my next company I hope we embrace and support the customers who push us to keep make it better.
MIT Sloan Management Review: Why Customer Participation Matters, Winter 2014 by Omar Merlo, Andreas B. Eisingerich and Seigyoung Auh
Although word of mouth may get more attention, our research shows that both customer-to-customer reviews and customer-to-business interactions can influence a customer’s propensity to buy more of a company’s products and services. While not all satisfied customers become repeat buyers, encouraging them to provide feedback and suggestions helps tie them more closely to the business. Companies can even recapture defecting customers simply by contacting them and encouraging them to participate. In addition, customer-to-business interaction is often more malleable than customer-to-customer word of mouth and more readily within the control of management. When customers provide feedback, management can monitor their contributions, whereas word of mouth works best when the company is not directly involved.
We found that customer participation is more strongly associated with customer spending than is word-of-mouth activity.