Communispace, a pioneer of online customer insight communities for some of the world's leading brands, and its client Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific and technical products and services, celebrated their first year of successful online community collaboration. Through online discussions and activities of two private communities, one consisting of librarians and one made up of researchers, Elsevier is fostering transparency among its customers and extracting valuable insights that ensure product and service innovation is customer-driven and validated.
Elsevier and Communispace launched two communities in 2008. The communities comprise 450 individuals from 69 countries, and Elsevier plans to launch a third community of research administrators. Current activities include ongoing discussions among members, product ideation and co-creation initiatives and prototype testing. Elsevier's communities are fostering loyalty and openness among its customers, giving users a clear sense of the company's creative process and customer focus, strengthening brand identity and demonstrably reducing product development cycles.
Among the many benefits of being involved in all cycles of the product development process, members of Elsevier's communities listed the following:
- A sense of camaraderie, as though they were a part of the Elsevier team.
- First-hand knowledge of Elsevier's continued efforts to innovate and enhance their products and services.
- An increased awareness of the breadth of Elsevier's product line—and a glimpse into what will be available in the future—enables librarians to make informed recommendations to their users.
Direct Member Feedback
"Being asked to provide feedback and suggestions, and seeing the thought that goes into designing said products, makes the practice of recommending them easier than it had been previously," said community member Robert Stibravy, academic librarian.
"I have become aware of extra features in Elsevier products that I did not previously know about and I have also realized how well it compares to other products. Looking at future developments is also encouraging," said community member Laura Foley, librarian, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.
"The field of research is constantly evolving in pace with the latest technological advances, and to meet the needs of our customers we must ensure that our solutions are useful, relevant and in step with how they work," said Juliette Goetzee, head of marketing relations, A&G products at Elsevier.
"Communispace provides a direct line to customer insight throughout our product development, creation and testing processes. Equally important are the deeper connections we've forged with our customer base, making them a real partner in our mission to improve research outcomes for academics around the world."
"Elsevier is a leader in the research community because they actually focus on the needs of their customers," said Maria Rapp, managing director, Europe at Communispace. "Using online communities to tap into the global wisdom of its customers proves once again that Elsevier is committed to delivering greater value through innovation. The active and valuable participation of community members during this first year is proof that customers can—and want to—play an important role in that process as well."