How co-creation can improve your customer experience

6th Feb 2013

Co-creating can help companies understand best how to meet their customers’ needs but few companies are reaping the benefits.

That’s according to Forrester analyst Kerry Bodine, who in a new blog post explains that in the experience design world, co-creation isn’t about crowdsourcing ideas but is about “the process of face-to-face active collaboration for the improvement and/or innovation of mutually beneficial products, services, or experiences.”

Co-creation workshops can help businesses pool ideas from participants and turn these insights into tangible prototypes that can be evaluated in real time, she says.

Taken from her recent report, Executive Q&A: Customer Experience Co-Creation, Bodine outlines several of the benefits co-creation provides:

  • Deep insights about people’s true needs and wants — from the source: Co-creation sessions uncover insights that won’t come from surveys, focus groups, or even in-depth interviews.
  • An efficient way to get to solutions that really work. Too often, firms gamble that their multiyear multimillion-dollar development projects will meet customers’ needs. Co-creation mitigates that risk fast because it can identify which elements of a product, service or experience provide value and generate ideas for how to fix the ones that don’t — all within the confines of a single workshop.
  • A catalyst for organizational change. As Virgin Media’s head of customer experience design Paul Morris explains, “People pay more attention to the output when you’ve taken them on the design journey and they feel involved. The solution holds more water than if I make up the design myself.”

However, despite its many benefits, pulling off an effective co-creation session requires extensive planning, preparation, and willingness to let a few customers behind the scenes, she says.

Companies looking to start co-creating should look to an outside firm or service design agency to help recruit, coordinate the logistics, and even facilitate the session. But don’t lean too heavily on external partners, she says.

“Your end goal is to help your company develop in-house co-creation planning and facilitation skills. And once you master them, you can leverage co-creation to improve countless aspects of your customer experience, focus business process improvements where they matter most, and answer many other open-ended business questions.”

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