The idea of crowd sourcing for business decisions may sound different to you if you're used to using crowd sourcing for other purposes. Since the idea began, it's been mostly used as a method of pooling money for a particular cause. That's since been renamed "crowd funding" and became a household term for using sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. But the sourcing half of crowd sourcing sounds more appropriate as a concept for bringing ideas rather than money.
In many cases, businesses are starting to use crowd sourcing as a method of pooling ideas through online forums. By doing this, the public can help make decisions for a business on what products to carry or other aspects to your business that make customers happy. While you can call that a free feedback tool, it works differently because you have a group of people all at once giving suggestions. The business owner can also join in on these forums to give their input on the discussions.
Regardless, there's another side to crowd sourcing that could be potentially problematic: Asking for answers on a more complicated business problem. What does a business do if they need an answer to a complex issue and they crowd source for answers without hiring a consultant?
Dividing Basic Opinion from Expert Answers
Business News Daily points out that when starting a crowd sourcing forum to gauge basic feedback, you should do it as a path toward creating a customer community. It's a way to create customer relationships while showing them that you care about the direction of your company. Customers also appreciate that you care enough to get feedback from them rather than go through consultants who don't see things from the customer perspective.
When you have to solve a complex problem, however, how are you going to know who's a real expert and who's not? A problem that requires professionals could potentially receive the wrong answer if you're depending on the general public to give you suggestions. In that regard, you may have to do a vetting process to determine who has real credentials.
One way to do that is to create a private forum just for the experts. There, you can ask for some credentials during the sign-up process so you'll know for sure that the people involved know what they're talking about.
While you may have trouble gaining real expert advice without providing some incentives to those people, another option may come from right in your company.
Using Employees in a Crowd Sourcing Forum
Sometimes it's better to go right to your own sources within the company and use your employees to solve certain business problems. If your company is overly large and you find it impossible to have every employee meet in one large gathering, an online crowd sourcing forum could be a perfect answer. It gives everyone, including you, a chance to discuss issues without having to meet physically in a room that can't accommodate everybody.
With employees, you'll have experts within your company that can join together to find solutions. And your employees will know your company better than even you do based on their firsthand experience working in each department.
Let us show you how this can work in your favor here at Crowd Siren. We're an online media, communications, and branding company that can help your own company run more efficiently by leveraging a combination of traditional and social media.
Contact us so we can start working with you on how to start a crowd sourcing solution as a way toward real answers that pay off.
By: Todd Levy