We say it a lot here at CorkSport, but it’s true, we really enjoy getting our customers involved with the development process and as an engineer at CorkSport, I get to interact with customers on new product ideas and collaborate on their development regularly.
Many of our new product ideas actually come from customer submissions which have been collected and reviewed during our development meetings. Once we have established whether the idea submission has merits and we feel it is a project worth pursuing, it gets added to our project plan and we begin the process of product development.
It’s important for us to keep our customers close to the development process to make sure we don’t lose sight of the original intention of the product or miss an important feature during development that was desired, so once an idea is approved, we reach out to the customers that submitted the idea and determine their interest level in helping CorkSport test the product and discuss getting involved in the development process by providing additional ideas or expressing concerns about the design.
We stay connected with the customer advocate and make sure things are progressing how they feel is best for the product. Once we have a prototype we will find customers who want to help with the testing and validation process to determine if anything needs to be adjusted prior to proceeding to production.
We also make sure to share our new products with the Mazda community through forum interaction. This gives us exposure to a larger audience of customers who may be interested in the product, and because forums can sometimes be brutally honest it really helps us see what may be lacking or needing change.
A good example of this would be our newly redesigned mud flaps for the Mazdaspeed6. We had originally released these using the same mud flaps that we developed for the Mazdaspeed3 but some customers felt they were too hard to install. We then went back and completely redesigned the front mud flaps specifically for the Mazdaspeed6.
I posted pictures of our prototypes on the Mazdaspeed Forum and Mazda6 Club to see if anything needed to be changed before we got ready to release them. During the discussion thread, some comments were made on the length of the front mud flaps and fitment issues that may occur depending in your ride height, so we incorporated a template into the installation instructions that allows customers to trim the mud flaps to their desired length.
Customer collaboration does not end once the part is released either. We like to follow up with customers who purchased our new product releases and get their feedback and have an active knowledgebase that customers can go to for questions and can contribute to with comments and feedback.
It is important for us to make sure that customers are happy with the product and that the installation instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. If a step is identified that requires additional clarification or could use additional product pictures, we incorporate that feedback into the new version of the instruction sets that go out. This collaboration helps us improve our products and makes us aware of things that may need to be addressed on other projects.
We welcome questions and comments from our customers at any time. If are installing a CorkSport product and have any questions we encourage you to contact us so we can help and if you ever have any suggestions on ways we can improve any of our products please let us know. It is important to us to remain close to the Mazda enthusiasts that have made our company the success it is today.