The Value Co-Creation model has been in place for some time, yet most companies have not adopted this powerful way of differentiating themselves.
Early movers were the likes of FedEx who allowed Customers to check the status of packages themselves, without having to contact someone in the company. This created great value (ease of use, sharing of the work load with the customer, putting the customer in control etc.) And value was co-created for FedEx, as they did not need to have staff to answer status questions.
Others have tried similar approaches, such as setting up service calls, but generally these have not worked well, because tracking of service people is not part of this platform. Imagine if you could track the service person and interact with him. Often problems can be solved without a visit. A platform would help, for delivery, for information and for real time tracking.
Companies that are successful in co-creation understand that co-creation is not managed by the company, but by equal partners in co-creation. So putting the customer in control or in equal control works best. Often co-creation requires the company, the distribution system (or the supply or delivery chain)and the customer to partner in co-creation of value and ease of doing business.
This requires a change of traditional business practices and models. This is particularly true for and applicable with companies that have moved from being owners to co-creators of value. They have designed platforms where they (take companies like Airbnb, Uber, LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon) allow customers, service providers and themselves to connect, to interact, to innovate and to co-create value and success for each other. These are C2C (Customer to Customer), B2C (Business to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business) all one platform.
So we need to look at our business and see how we can set up a co-creation platform, and from the platform connect ourselves to the supplier and the customer. Are we willing to let go? Are we willing to let go control and our traditional thinking?
The first step is to think about and set up a platform, and then make it work.
The easiest platform to form is a co-innovation platform, where the designers and customers can interact. This, of course involves a small part of your customer base.
This is really an idea generation model that can be refined into a more operational model and more result oriented model.
More complex are sales platforms such as Amazon, where the supplier can participate in the sales (his delivery and guarantees), by customers co-creating the confidence in the product through ratings, and co-creating the future requirements of the supplier and the customer. Customers create value for each other, the company to the supplier and the customer and so on.
So connect your Customers, let them “talk” in some way by experiences (so a pesticide company may put in likes and dislikes or ratings of the product, by just punching in a number at the suppliers, or on the platform.
Next help them discuss issues (again this may only mean by a rating system) or help each other by suggesting which concentration of the pesticide was best for you. Or what is best storage method?
Thus this network of people helps you build customers and connect to them and co-create. Your digital infrastructure needs to be designed to allow people to participate and co-create.
Next, try to automate your processes and the way people can co-create.
It is not just the platform; it is your co-creation of value thinking that is important. You have to rethink your strategy for the product, manufacturing, inventory, distribution, customer interface and the like and build your digital infrastructure,
GE and Microsoft are making this transition and so should you.
Customer Value Foundation is co-creation of value experts
President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India
Founder editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
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Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.
Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value.
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