The paper "Virtual Customer Environments" is an outstanding example of an assignment on information technology. The development of computer technology has aided the development of Virtual Environments. These technology-based customer forums have proved to be invaluable to companies such as Nokia, Volvo, Nike, Microsoft and Cisco who have been able to build closer links with customers, especially in innovation and value creation. (Nambisan and Nambisan, 2008). Virtual customer environments may constitute online discussion groups or could be more complex, where some expert customers could provide assistance in the prototyping of products, testing new product concepts or providing product support services who are not as knowledgeable as they are.
For example, Duchati’ s Tech Café serves as a virtual environment that is primarily a knowledge and interaction center, while BMW’ s Customer Innovation Lab explores virtual product designs and prototyping. (Nambisan and Nambisan, 2008:55). Volvo’ s Concept Lab offers virtual product simulation tools, while Microsoft’ s MVP Program and Samsung’ s Virtual Product Launch Center provide discussion forums and knowledge centers about products. Such environments thus provide an interactive forum for customers at all levels to interact with the Company and with each other, not only to learn more about a product but also for the more expert customers to provide suggestions and advice.
It is an invaluable tool for Companies because they are able to benefit from the feedback of their more experienced customers, who also interact through the virtual forums and aid the Company in product testing and prototyping, and may thus substantially increase the innovative power of those firms, while also creating value for the Company’ products and services.