Amber Wesche, Lead Product Manager
National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC)
Amber Wesche serves as a lead product manager for NISC, specializing in NISC’s end-consumer engagement solutions. NISC’s consumer engagement product offerings include SmartHub’s mobile and web application as well as Multi-Channel Messenger. As lead product manager Amber is responsible for working both internally with NISC’s development and support teams as well as with NISC Members to ensure these applications are meeting Member needs. Amber joined NISC in 2012 and previously served in Member Support.
Crowdsourcing is one of the biggest buzzwords you’ll hear in the technology industry right now. Apps, websites and yes, even broadband and utility organizations are tapping into the user-centric technology to help drive their business forward. But…what is crowdsourcing? And more importantly, why would you want to use it?
Crowdsourcing, at its core is simply bringing together a large group of people to help divide and conquer a particular project. With increased access to smartphones and the web, crowdsourcing can involve anyone, anywhere across the world.
A popular example is the traffic app Waze. Much like your favorite maps app, Waze will give you directions and the best route to get to your destination. The difference, though, is that Waze utilizes input from users in real time, letting you know of anything that could slow your route and suggesting faster alternatives.
Crowdsourcing for Broadband
The concept of crowdsourcing isn’t new to broadband and utility organizations. Many rural broadband and utility companies were formed by communities coming together and deciding to do something to fill a need.
In 2021, the idea of crowdsourcing isn’t much different, though the technology has changed quite a bit. From broadband rollouts to the implementation of new programs and services, broadband and utility companies are still relying on their customers for help.
No, the customers aren’t going to bury fiber line or build poles, but they can help you understand how to best roll out your solution, both for efficiency and to help maximize the return on investment of extremely important projects.
If you’re rolling out a new service or program, crowdsourcing can help you get an idea where to start and where to spend your time. A solid crowdsourcing solution starts by allowing you to establish zones in your territory. Once the zones are established, you can spread the word about your new service or project allowing customers to sign up.
The Insights You Need
This customer data gives you insight into which zones are gaining the most interest. This helps determine the best areas of your territory to begin your service or program rollout. It also helps you understand which customers are likely to sign up for future programs or services quickly and determine where to target future marketing efforts.
The data will also help you understand where you’re going to get the biggest return on investment for your rollout. However, that’s not always the most important factor. For many broadband and utility companies, other factors may be more important such as discovering areas of customer need or underutilized programs or services.
A crowdsourcing solution is also an extremely effective marketing tool. Once zones are established, Members will be able to see which services or programs are being underutilized and use that data to create effective targeted-marketing campaigns.
With a crowdsourcing solution, you help bring your customers into the process of rolling out a new service and may even turn some of them into advocates that can help spread the word in the community or on social media.
NISC’s SmartHub Crowdsourcing encompasses all of these features and is available as part of the NISC Marketing suite of solutions. For more information on NISC Marketing, visit NISC.coop or reach out to us at 866.999.6472.