It's been some time, as I've been settling into a new position. But a recent mail exchange with friend Tim Tyler made my eyes boggle, and set my envy gene rattling. Which makes the fingers itchy ...
Tim was behind a recent initiative that actually asked customers what they wanted via a community site, and then went on to build a new brand based on what he heard. See this blog post for a summary.
It simply amazes me that an insurance company had the courage to do this research, let alone move onto building a new brand based on the results. And while we need to wait to see whether they will be successful, it's a stunning example of what active listening via community sites can do for a - let's face it - fairly commoditized service offering.
What can we learn from this? Three things come to mind - firstly, the wisdom of crowds is a real and powerful tool if companies are prepared to listen. Secondly, people do really want to tell companies what they want from them provided the company doesn't come across all high-handed.
Thirdly, monetizing the feedback from communities is as simple as being prepared to act on what they tell you. The initiative by IAG may or may not be successful, but as a potential customer I can tell you that they get my attention immediately. They want to deliver what I want in my service package.
Thought for the Day: Maybe listening to people is not enough - you've got to have the balls to act on what they tell you.