Re: Increasing Customer Contact

Subject: Re: Increasing Customer Contact
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1993 08:42:02 CDT

To Jane Torpie:

Hi, Jane!

Yes, I have always had to coordinate customer visits with management,
sales, and customer support people. Usually, I've ridden on their
coat tails to customer sites. It's easier with hardware products,
you can hitch a ride to act as gopher and documentation handler.

With software products, I've had a MUCH harder time getting to visit
customers. Especially with PC software packages. There aren't as
many opportunities as with large hardware systems and Management is
harder to convince. Profit margins can be tight and money is tight
all the time.

The one thing common to the situations I've experienced has been
the requirement for a good working relationship with everyone
involved. You're asking them to trust you in new ways and with
paying customers.

Your best bet is probably with beta test customers. Everyone seems
more receptive on both sides to anyone who can really 'help.' Also,
these customers are usually experienced with other products than
yours and can offer suggestions based on those experiences. Beta
customers expect support personnel from your company and don't
consider you an intruder. Just try to help all concerned with their
jobs while doing your own. Even if all you can do is stay out of
the way.

Keep your eyes and ears open and follow the lead of whoever brought
you (sales, customer support, whoever). Request a briefing before
you go. Ask about how to field any customer questions.

Convince all concerned you're going to be there to help the customer,
to make the documentation better suite customer needs, to help
improve customer acceptance and satisfaction with the product.

I hope these ideas help.

Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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