Companies are seen as the problem not the solution

Despite the often trotted out corporate rhetoric about “putting the customer at the centre of everything we do”, for many people, the relationships with their chosen brands has come to represent an “arms length” association. Companies are often seen as the problem rather than the solution. They are seen as a barrier to delivering what customers actually want.

The development of social media has provided a new platform for the crowd to be heard and it is challenging traditional business models. People are sharing opinions, criticising, helping each other and collaborating on solutions independently – whether companies like it or not. We’ve all heard of Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Flickr, Foursquare and maybe Digg and StumbleUpon. But what about:

ComplaintCommunity – a complaint community started in 2008 where complainers and complainees are brought together to resolve complaints to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.

pownum – a company rating community. pownum enables the public to rate organisations based on the opinion of the crowd. A kind of “name and shame” for the worst organisations and public commendation for the best. Organisations have the opportunity to respond. Community members are awarded points based on their activity with the highest being 5 star general.

Amplicate – c41m opinions from c10.5m people – “Amplicate collects similar opinions in one place, making them more likely to be found by people and companies”.

The power of the crowd is already being utilised by many businesses. For some, the service delivery shift is well underway and is redefining existing customer service models. Effectively, some companies are outsourcing their first line support and service function to the crowd or are using them to focus product development initiatives. Even more radical is the crowdsourcing of sales, marketing and service. Here’s ten real world examples of how crowdsourcing is being used:


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