Why Customer Participation Matters

Why Customer Participation Matters

How can you encourage your clients' active participation?

Author(s): Omar Merlo, Andreas B. Eisingerich, Seigyoung Auh

Publisher: MIT Sloan Management Review

Date of publication: 2014

Read this article on the publisher's website [MIT Sloan Management Review]


The clients are at the center of the attention of the enterprises. Yet, the authors state, the majority have limited interactions with them: they seek their advice occasionally, on a topic they have themselves defined, or attempt to create a marketing buzz. The research of these authors shows that less than 20% of organizations set up a sustained collaboration with their clients. Yet, those among the latter who have the opportunity to actively collaborate with the enterprise are also those who buy the most its products or services. They also tend to be more loyal and to recommend the brand to their entourage. This said, how to encourage this active participation? The second part of the article provides a few concrete pieces of advice: ask the customers for a small level of commitment as a first step; involve them in strategic decisions; put them on an equal footing during the discussions; realize that you cannot completely control the exchange; etc.