thinking like a customer

thinking like a customer

Sharing with Customers

By on October 27, 2010

Sharing_smLisa Gansky’s The Mesh is the story of how sharing has grown to be a significant business model in recent years. The model is not for every business. However, there is a powerful message for all organizations in using the principles of sharing as a fresh way to help them think like their customers.

Mesh businesses work best when offering physical goods that can be used in a community (usually local) and tracked via web data networks or social media. Zipcars, built on the sharing of cars in local areas, is already notable. Another example, Crushpad Wine, provides high-quality grapes and fermentation and bottling equipment to people who want to make their own wine. The best candidates for Mesh businesses involve products that are expensive to purchase and used only occasionally.

However, cultivating a sharing mentality in a non-Mesh business can be very useful. It will heighten the skill of paying attention to opportunities for customers. Gansky calls this “putting on your Mesh lenses” in order to look for new possibilities. It will cast a new light on how you can help your customers, rather than laboring under the mindset that all you have to sell is a product. It puts organizations in the role of designers, who value the input of their clients. The result creates a two-way benefit, by causing organizations to develop services from a 180-degree viewpoint, as if they were on the receiving end of the relationship.

A culture of sharing reinforces the belief that you and your customers have a common purpose. And this spirit of collaboration translates into a message that these customers can trust you to work on their behalf. It is empowering, both for employees and customers. The sharing prototype is a valuable lesson for all organizations that are focused on customer closeness.

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