It’s established wisdom that there is strength in numbers. In the business world, no recent phenomenon has demonstrated this better than the crowd. Although the benefits for customers as well as companies are indisputable, many companies have been hesitant to incorporate crowdsourcing as a core component of their business strategies.
Those willing to take the plunge stand to make immense gains from a successful harnessing of the power of the crowd. Making the switch to crowdsourcing is an urgent imperative for businesses intending to maintain a competitive edge – something that is especially true for the on-demand service industry.
Revolutionizing Customer Service
In the on-demand economy, consumers want their service immediately, they don’t want to wait – everything must be available at the touch of a button. Companies have to adapt to meet these higher expectations and the crowd is an invaluable tool in this endeavor. There are numerous areas in which the crowd can benefit a company’s operations.
One of the domains that can be revolutionized by the crowd is customer service. In the majority of cases, consumers dread using a company’s customer service: long waiting times; technicians of variable competency; problems not always resolved… With crowd customer service many of these issues can be mitigated or even sidestepped completely, opening up the possibility of offering customer service on-demand.
A Much Bigger Pool of Experts
Let’s take the example of a telecom company, which receives thousands of service calls a day: in order to be able to offer customer service on-demand, it would require a huge staff. In real terms, it would be virtually impossible for the company to have a large enough field force of technicians to successfully meet consumer expectations.
The crowd, on the other hand, offers a much bigger pool of experts. Moreover, since it is made up of tech-savvy, private individuals ready to offer their support to fellow customers, the crowd can extend over a far wider geographical area. As a result, the density of available support is vastly increased. Consumers could potentially seek specialized help from people living in their own neighborhood, drastically reducing their waiting time.
Optimized and Cost-efficient Service
Another significant advantage is that consumers can be given much greater choice and control over their service. Through detailed profiles and rating systems, those people who offer their help through the crowd can be ranked and classified, which allows consumers to base their choice of crowdsourced expert both on the nature of their problem and the experiences of others.
This is particularly useful for less complicated issues that don’t necessarily require a trained technician. For example, if someone needs help setting up their wireless router, it doesn’t make sense to send a salaried technician, whose expensive time would be better served on more complex tasks. Giving the job to someone sourced from the crowd will resolve the issue much more rapidly and at a fraction of the cost, maximizing consumer satisfaction as well as profits.
Making the Switch
It’s understandable that companies may be reluctant to switch over to a crowdsourcing model. Handing problems over to strangers could look like a risky gamble to the uninitiated. However, in the on-demand economy, where customer expectations and the volume of demand are higher than ever, such strategies are increasingly becoming indispensable.
The social dimension of the on-demand economy generates its own guarantees in the form of peer reviews and experience reports. Combined with the exceptional gains that can be made in terms of the scale and diversity of service, the potential benefits of crowdsourcing for on-demand service companies vastly outweigh the costs. As in the example of the telecom company, for some it would actually be impossible to offer on-demand service without the support of the crowd.