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Telecommunications

South-African 34007 lets customers text message / sms their rants and raves to suppliers.

After decades of living and breathing the consumption society, consumers are experienced and opinionated to a degree that should scare the *&^% out of every business professional. We actually dubbed this mass-phenomenon “GENERATION R”: R for Revenge, if you, as a company, choose not to listen to your customers. GENERATION R has the means to fight back, from websites like planetfeedback.com to their own blogs and viral videos, potentially reaching global audiences in a heartbeat. In fact, expect the GENERATION R eco-system to evolve rapidly, with clever entrepreneurs becoming information brokers between hapless organizations and right-here, right-now customers. Case in point: South African 34007, an ‘instant, direct, reward-based and anonymous channel of communication enabling every single consumer to interact with suppliers, government and civil society, whenever they want and where ever they want’. As it rhetorically asks consumers on its website: “How often are we satisfied with what we pay for? Is the service up to scratch? Is the product what the suppliers promised it would be? Does the attitude of the staff make you want to scream? Is the advertising offensive or misleading? Do people really care what you think? When you have gripe, who can you call?” In short, 34007 wants South African consumers to sms (text) their commercial grievances and suggestions right on the spot, to, you guessed it, number 34007. Naturally, this requires participation from merchants and suppliers: businesses pay ZAR 30 (USD 4.90 / EUR 3.70) a month to become 34007 compliant. This gives them a special merchant code to which customers can (fully anonymously) address their sms. Merchants can then reply, and hopefully resolve the issue. They can also pro-actively offer consumers a digital voucher for every comment, suggestion and complaint they sms in.Innovatively, every consumer who uses 34007 gets their own web page on www.34007.com, enabling them to view messages sent to and replies received from suppliers. Suppliers in turn get access to their own web site to view consumer’s ratings, feedback, set their own message responses, or determine the benefits they want to hand out each and every time customers interact with them.

Opportunities

34007 is one of many companies going for the fortunes hidden in consumer experience, suggestions and feedback. With web-based ventures like planetfeedback.com and Epinions already working hard on funneling insanely valuable feedback from consumers to hotels, restaurants, banks, airlines and what have you, 34007 goes one step further by cleverly enabling feedback to be given on the spot, in the online AND offline world, when and where it matters most. Even better, they’re setting out to create a nationwide system that uniquely identifies all merchants and suppliers, something that is missing in most other feedback schemes.Obviously, this also constitutes 34007’s real challenge: how to get enough merchants to sign up for the service, making the service truly ubiquitous. Perhaps broadcasting random feedback for non-participating merchants on the 34007 website would help? 😉 Springwise could see 34007 copycats pop up in Sweden, in Singapore, in Brazil, in the US: any place where consumers demand to exercise their right to complain, and businesses understand that listening to, learning from and working with the New Customer should be a number one priority!

Website: www.34007.com/, www.planetfeedback.com/, www.epinions.com/

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