Defining Co-Creation & Why It Works
Customer-Centricity | Industry Savvy

Defining Co-Creation & Why It Works

on / by Meghan Horvath

While there is certainly a lot of buzz around optimizing the customer experience, co-creation rarely comes up. Is there a difference between the two? Yes and no.

Here is a breakdown of co-creation: what it is, how it works and why.

What is Co-Creation?

Co-creation is one method of enhancing the customer experience, and works exactly as it sounds.

It happens when a) departments within an organization work together or b) organizations work with customers to (co-)create the user’s end experience. In each case, the result is often more personalized and overall just better.

Nike is best known for doing this. Their recognition globally is even attributed to customizations done via co-creation. The Nikeplus campaign, for instance, built a virtual community where runners could network, encourage and challenge each other, and track their progress. 

With two-way communication, there is more of a guarantee that everyone will be engaged with the product as it will be the direct result of their input. 

How it works

If you want to stay ahead, where your customers were once passive users of your product or service, they should now be seen as active co-designers and content creators. It’s about time to forget the days of creating for your customers and shift to creating with them. 

Sounds great, but how can you achieve this?

  1. Asking, analyzing, acting

There are many ways organizations are approaching co-creation, but one main method is the active collection of feedback across all digital touchpoints. In a broad sense, this means first the collection, then the analyzing of the data and finally acting upon feedback. 

Usabilla incorporates this customer-centric framework in the form of Ask, Analyze, Act. Via this process, you can collect the insights you need to drive operational decisions and build products and experiences that your customers will love. 

  1. Gathering qualitative feedback

Feedback comes in many forms and ideally consists of a combination of qualitative and quantitative feedback. Many organizations prioritize the analytics of feedback collection, however, when it comes to co-creating content and working alongside customers, this data can only tell you so much. 

Desmond Dekker, Senior Consultant at KPN, is using Usabilla so they can move forward with user motivations already in mind. By looking at the qualitative side of their customer feedback, KPN can see the reasons behind why people are doing the things that they do. Once you look into the story behind the stats, you get to the heart of the feedback and can start making real changes.

  1. Leaving your bubble

Regardless of your background or work experience, you can learn something from everyone you meet. It’s crucial to open your eyes and ears to those around you and in all instances, to your customers and your own team. Everything you learn has the power to shape your perspective and ultimately help you create a better product or offer an improved service. 

Tiffany Eaton, Interaction Designer at Google, explains the importance of building a community culture and making time to communicate with your team because in the end you’re in it together:

“The mentality to quickly build something amazing is starting to change where I make it a priority to reach out to people to tell them where I am in my design process, what I’m working on at the moment, and to understand what’s going on on their end.”

Why it works

Co-creation done correctly can limit mishaps and ultimately save time and effort for both customers and organizations. Only when you begin the dialogue can co-creation take place. An easy way to do so is to welcome customer feedback. 

  1. Listening with VoC

While analytics tools within social media platforms or via Google Analytics do help, listening to customers with a Voice of Customer (VoC) solution can show you why something is happening rather than just what is happening. By looking at user motivations and frustrations in this way, you can make customers happy by resolving issues and preventing them from surfacing down the road. 

The entirety of a CX ecosystem can be intimidating, but narrowing down pain points and areas for improvement is simplified with VoC. By engaging with customers, and even partners and your own team, you can evaluate current processes and redesign the customer journey as needed with everyone’s input in mind.

As a Forrester report on ‘The Customer Experience Ecosystem Redefined’ explains, 

Don’t hold back; anything can be co-created, ranging from discrete touchpoints to entire journeys and from digital interactions to physical locations.

  1. Communicating as a team

Consider teamwork; it comes with its share of challenges, but inevitably involves two-way communication where everyone has a voice. Similarly, when customers feel valued and heard, they are of course more than willing and likely to stick with your brand.

This increased loyalty in the customer-client relationship will lead to a committed following which could lead to word of mouth referrals that will drive further business towards your organization. Take for instance the customer loyalty with the IKEA brand.

The store is known for delivering a customer-focused experience at each step of their journey because they are listening to customer needs, from their full-fledged cafeteria that people actually want to go to, to the rewarding concept of building your own furniture. IKEA sets you up with user friendly guides and otherwise offers the option for delivering and building the furniture right where it needs to be, at a time that suits you.

  1. Starting the dialogue

Another example of a strong customer-brand relationship is Skyscanner. As a sort of middle man and intermediary in the travel industry, Skyscanner makes use of Usabilla to build up a rapport with their customers.

By giving them the opportunity to provide feedback, Skyscanner can begin a dialogue and kickstart co-creation with their customers. Thanks to the process, Skyscanner can empower their team with the right resources needed to make changes that suit customer needs. 

What’s next?

Ditch the process of pushing your services on your customers and instead listen to what they have to say. This way, you’re creating together with your customers in mind.

Learn more about collecting feedback here and how co-creation with a voice of customer solution like Usabilla can benefit your brand here.

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Article by

Meghan Horvath

Meghan lives in Amsterdam as Marketing Content Writer at Usabilla. She’s from Chicago, though likes to pretend she's from Brussels. When she's not cringing at the Oxford comma, she's drinking wine and listening to French podcasts.

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