Crowdsourcing is a new term and a possibly a new emerging trend. The basic premise is to tap into the vast wisdom of the general (or specifically skilled)  population to funnel the best ideas to the top and execute them. It is also being used in the Customer Service arena.

When I was at IBM, we called them user groups and they were local, often within the same city. Then bigger groups formed and held international meetings such as Guide, Share and Common. Today that function is happening in a worldwide basis and across many industries. User groups are now worldwide and users helping users. Some organizations are enabling and encouraging crowdsourcing Two recent two articles on my blog describe this trend. See Intuit’s implementation in Quickbooks and Turbotax in the article

Volunteer ‘Customer Service’ improves Customer Satisfaction?

and the Xbox Live Ambassadors in the article

How Microsoft Xbox uses Twitter for Customer Service

To get your innovation juices flowing here’s an intro video on Crowdsourcing.

Jeff Howe featured in this video is the author of the book “Crowdsourcing”.

Organizations need to rethink their customer service organization around some basic concepts. Customers are talking about your products and services  anyways. Give them a platform to talk about you and encourage and support those that are your fans. Embrace criticism and address root causes.

I welcome your comments below.

If you are interested in the Crowdsourcing book, here’s my affiliate link to


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

3 Responses to “Crowdsourcing and Customer Service”

  1. K. Dingwall Says:

    Interesting….and in your writeup you might have mentioned IBM’s pioneering work using ‘Live JAMS’ for employee input and ‘Live World JAMS’ for IBM to seek input from customers and citizens worldwide regarding what IBM should be doing from a corporate citizenship focus…. ie. where they should invest research dollars. IBM then used this information to select the Top Ten focus areas as identified by the JAM Participants.

    I think IBM was leading edge on this approach, called ‘live JAMs’ vs Crowdsourcing.

  2. Adele Says:

    Hi Kathy

    Thank you for your comments.

    I also remember OS2 Evangelists from both within and outside IBM that promoted OS2 operating system. They were an early form of Crowdsourcing, promoting their favorite product. Had social media and blogs been available, I am sure they would have helped to spread the OS2 message.


  3. Pros and Cons to customer-to-customer support | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] For some real life examples of Customer to Customer support at Quickbooks and Microsoft XBox, see an earlier blog post called Crowdsourcing and Customer Service. […]

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