What does customer collaboration really look like?

Without a customer base, you have no business. We can all agree with that, right? They’re the lifeline of any organisation. You depend on them for growth, sales, brand development and every other aspect of your work. 

The most successful businesses are those which offer their consumer a richer, more meaningful brand experience. Brands that make you feel as though you’re part of their decision-making process – and therefore their journey.

For MysteryVibe, that was pleasure – especially seeing as that’s our business! A fundamental part of all our lives, we found that sex and pleasure can often take a back-seat as our lives become a continuous stream of information, work and social engagements. Suddenly, the one thing that gives us the most joy is subservient.

As entrepreneurs and experts obsessed over the power of technological advancement, we were surprised by the lack of innovation in the pleasure industry. What’s more, it seemed that the more connected we are, the more disconnected we feel… ironic, huh? So, we asked ourselves, how can we use technology to enhance sexual experiences without distracting from them? How can it be used to help, not hinder relationships? If we could create an object of desire that merged with our lives and bring immense pleasure with it - that would be something really worth building.

Considering the intimate nature of our mission, we knew that every product MysteryVibe made had to be designed and created with its user in mind.

We aimed to design both software and hardware products in a way where the user was at the centre of everything; the product experience, customer service… all of it. We wanted our users to fall in love with the journey of the brand. 

Great brands have a purpose, they address a clear need in the market and they tell a story that’s worth listening to. They find out exactly what people want, and need, and they adapt themselves accordingly.

So that’s what we did. We launched our Pilot and invited 1,000 customers to back us while we built the first truly user-designed pleasure product. A toy created by experts to start with, but thoroughly refined in every detail by a diverse group of real users – one thousand of them from over 50 countries. 

I like to think of our customers as educated spokespeople

We listened to their feedback, we discovered trends and distilled them down to specific areas of improvement.

Customers wanted a rounder tip, so we changed the shape. They asked for Crescendo to be dual insertable, so we modified our manufacturing process to include full silicone encapsulation.

Our mission was always to make our products fully personalisable, so when customers enquired about future updates to our accompanying mobile app we decided to go one step further faster than we originally planned, introducing live control and user-designed vibration patterns.

So, why did we make all this effort? Why is customer collaboration so important, and what difference does it actually make?

I like to think of our customers as educated spokespeople of the MysteryVibe brand. By making them feel part of our journey, they feel valued, respected and listened to. In turn, they become our brand ambassadors. 

Co-creating encourages a mutually beneficial equation of success. Our early customers helped to build Crescendo from a concept to a physical product, so our success is as much theirs as it is ours.

The increased customer intimacy that comes with co-creation like this deepens your understanding of your market, enabling you to serve it better. This in turn enables you to achieve product market fit more quickly, because you have a better line of communication to your tribe. When customers co-create and have a vested interest in its success, they are more open to engaging with content and repeating business.

Not only does it improve your knowledge of the market as a whole, but also your customer personas. By listening and encouraging feedback from customers, you’re able to design products specifically made for them. Continually refining this process means you end up with a product both you and your customer are proud to use and own. That’s what it’s all about; creating beautiful products that inspire consumer loyalty and building a brand you’re proud of.

Not only will collaboration improve customer relationships and sector knowledge, it also acts as a marketing tool. Open innovation is a great story, and can be used as valuable and shareable content. People listen to their friends, and loyal customers love to shout about their favourite products and engage with brands through digital platforms. As long as you have a well thought out customer retention strategy, this is great news for you.

It’s safe to say there a lot of tangible benefits that come with customer collaboration. My advice to any startup looking to build a business with their customers at the heart of their operation is simple; engage. Engage and understand your customer to the extent that you build a product they love so much, they become its biggest evangelist. 

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.


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