Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Attention: customers! To listen or not?

Facebook design upgrade caused a lot of hype out there. Customers' complaint made the service provider get things back. It had the opposite effect on tech community though.

The perspective Michael Arrington gave in recent TechCruch post makes sense, but is pretty tough.

If customer is a king and takes the upper hand in product evolution you may be really losing your kingdom. Period.

It takes a lot to be a real success. In any business. The key point is it’s always about customers’ benefit, improving the service you provide along the way. If it was as simple as it sounds.. Actually, there are always two ways to go. I must say dealing with web-based services vendors use different approach to this issue. The bottom line is who eventually wins?!

Salesforce Idea Exchange, a live example of vendor who is really listening to what customers have to say, can prove the opposite what Techcrunch is trying to state.

There is another example though. Once I’ve stumbled upon the blog with a very conspicuous title I just couldn’t pass up and not figure out why Basecamp sucks so much, it was necessary to create a blog to tell this. Try not to listen to your customers, and you’ll find out why.

So, it really makes me wonder which option the vendors I am evaluating choose. The issue is pretty tricky, isn’t it?

1 comment:

  1. The elegant mean between applications for specialty trades and industries is to take users to heart, but avoid design by mob. On the other hand, real innovations that might have a kernel of genius can't just be shoved in the faces of the user. That's what customer evangelism is - incorporating the best internal designs that push the productivity envelope and introduce new ideas that might be initially perceived as too new and unfamiliar. At the same time, product managers must become bidirectional communicators that facilitate the introduction of new products and features to the user community, and to bring back ideas from the community.