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The Power of i³ - Inform, Involve & Inspire

by  David Dwyer on  22/06/2017

The value of involving your stakeholders

The Power of i3 - Inform, Involve, InspireEvery business these days is expected to have a website. It’s worth having one, even if it only provides basic information about products, services and contact details.

But should it do more? We think so. Websites should be treated like the businesses they represent – to truly hit gold, they should also involve and inspire all their stakeholders.

Some of the best products and services are those that are ‘co-produced’, where clients, employees, suppliers and the wider community feel informed, involved and inspired.

This is our aspiration at Inspire – and we’d love to involve you in our journey!

The value of involving your stakeholders

There are many ways to involve others in your business and numerous benefits to be had when you do. And websites can be used as a route to engagement.

As a starter, there’s the opportunity for customisation. Dell, for example, was one of those to pioneer customer input to product design, with its ‘build your own…’ computer scheme. Car manufacturers now present buyers with an ever-growing online list to personalise their purchase. And co-production of smaller-ticket items is possible too, such as the chance to design your own Nike trainers. [Ed: Much as Nike offer this feature it has changed over the years as they’ve continued to listen to their clients. I used this 10 years ago and it’s evolved hugely since then]

Some companies start with a business model built around customer involvement. Take MUD Jeans, a Dutch company. Their customers are encouraged to lease rather than buy their jeans, then return them when no longer wanted so they can be recycled for new customers. The product and process are the ultimate expression of the brand, whose vision is to create a world without waste. And their clients become part of an eco-friendly denim-wearing community!

Is the challenge of involving your stakeholders worth the risk

Involving clients, staff, suppliers and others in a business can be challenging. It takes trust and a willingness to reveal some of the internal workings of an organisation, warts and all. Many business leaders baulk at the prospect, preferring to keep people in the dark about their strategy and methods. Of course, a more reserved approach is essential for some businesses. However, at Inspire, we find striving for greater transparency to be a risk worth taking.

Involve your customers

Customer engagement these days often happens by default. Social media platforms are an essential element of most companies’ communications strategy. Customers expect Facebook and Twitter, for example, to keep them instantly informed of business developments, and to have their queries – or complaints – responded to at a moment’s notice.

Having an open communications channel with customers can be of huge value. It can be a great way to build brand ambassadors who’ll spread the word on your behalf. Invite feedback for your products; be curious about the way they’re used; create communities through loyalty and membership schemes. It’s a win–win relationship.

Involve your employees

Harvard Business Review contains many examples of organisations that have suffered damage through a failure to sufficiently involve staff in decision making about processes and business direction. It can harm morale, create confusion, reduce trust and loyalty, and, as a consequence, reduce productivity.

When employees feel fully engaged and empowered, they will feel valued and want to improve the way things are done. Everyone benefits.

We created an Ideas Pod feature for one of our clients, L&I Eaton as a means of staff being able to provide feedback, we even added an anonymous option.

Knowledge is power

Our philosophy at Inspire is to bring everyone on the i3 journey.

Say, for example, you approach us because your website has been hacked. We won’t just sort it out, no explanation given, then present you with a bill; although in the short term, the result would be the same – a fully operational, clean website.

For longer term benefits, we’ll keep you in the loop throughout the process. That way you’ll have a better understanding of what caused the problems, what it takes to solve them, and the steps you can take to avoid attacks in future. And, we hope, we’ll have created an ongoing mutually respectful and fruitful relationship.

We’d love to know who else thinks like we do!

Why not inform us about your experiences – does your company go all out to involve its stakeholders? Which businesses inspire you?  

Customer Service, e-Marketing, Frequently Asked Question's, Inspire Web Services, Internet of Things, The Evolving Web, Web Design, Website Support
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