Customer Collaboration, Part 1, discussed how a tee-shirt company, Threadless, collaborates with its customers. Part 2 continues this with how Volusion, an “all-in-one” e-commerce site, collaborates with its customers.
April Joyner in the Tapping Customers for Product Ideas article in the November 2010 issue of Inc Magazine describes how Volusion has set up a formal process of soliciting and vetting customer suggestions and the product development based on them. Volusion:
- Sends out a monthly survey to its customers which includes questions on customer loyalty and which improvements the customer would like to see.
- Built its own online forum that lets customers submit ideas and vote for the suggestions they like, modeled on Digg.
- A group of employees from different departments meets each week and evaluates the ideas.
- Once the group has approved of a new feature, sales and customer service employees follow up with those who made the suggestions and gather additional information for the software developers.
- Then the software developers start development.