Social Networks and Listening to Customers

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While driving last night my wife started reading to me the "virtual town hall" she was reading in Twitter.  Every Wednesday night the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy group holds an online discussion through twitter using the hasthtag #DSMA.  Last night they asked a series of questions among them were three questions asking what diabetics would like to see their meters and cell phones doing to support their needs.  There were some great comments in there.  Of course, there are the humorous ones (reward good blood sugar levels with Rolo candies, from @leeannthilland other things.) There were also some amazingly great ideas:

@Badshoe wrote: Q2. I wish meters and CGM could work up the nerve to talk to each other and auto calibrate

@shahzadii wish my meter would communicate with my iPhone and give me graphs and make me drool... anyone wanna develop that?

@blogdiabetes wrote: Q2: I wish my meter would sync with my CGM automatically like my MM Pump/Ultralink DSMA

I list these as just a few examples of the great ideas that come from asking your customers what they want.  Imagine if Medtronic, or Abbott were reading this. They shouldn't find it hard  to build bluetooth into the meter so that it can "talk" to a smartphone and then have an app that ties the data together.  Or even having the continuous glucose monitor talk to the meter, so that the patient doesn't have to go through the regular calibration cycles?
The lesson here is clear:  By just monitoring twitter and other sites, social networks can be quite useful to learn what customers are saying about you, and your products and services. But that leaves so much on the table.  If your customers are part of a larger interest group, join in the conversation there as well.  Ask them what they would want to see, or do, or even "Be" with your product. Then listen, and surprise them. 
Supply Chain Innovation often comes from our customers.  Take time to actively listen, and seek their inputs. Even on Twitter.