Increasing Customer Contact

Subject: Increasing Customer Contact
From: Jane Torpie <Jane_Torpie_at_III-HQ -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 12:12:00 EST

Hi all -

Some time ago, I posted a request for your suggestions about increasing
customer contact. Thanks for the many responses; I brought them to a
meeting (and credited them to this list!).

We had quite a discussion and generated these additional ideas:

1. Go on visits to customer sites during the design phase and during beta
test, if at all possible. These are two opportunities to address user
interface issues and to learn about how the customers actually use the
product and the associated documentation (online & paper-based).

2. Go to the national/international user conference. If possible, run a
"book fair" or a booth in the area where the company is publicizing its
other products or services (such as consulting).

If you can't go to the big user conference, go to one or more smaller
regional user group meetings. If nothing else, just sit and listen. Ask
the main presenter to announce your presence, and let customers who are so
inclined stroll over and give you feedback or ask questions.

3. Go to your company's training classes. Participate as a student if
possible. If not, just sit in for a while and listen (esp. if they are
doing exercises to test their learning). Make a short (2-5 minute)
presentation about the documentation that is part of the product. Go to
lunch with the students if you can. If your company has a list of the doc.
it offers, distribute it.

4. Get to know the hotline support people. Listen in on a few phone
calls, if possible. If they ever hold meetings or focus groups with
existing customers, see if you can sit in and listen, or get a videotape.

5. Write articles for the company's technical newsletters.

6. Go on the occasional trip with a company consultant to watch and

I hope this helps someone else as much as your suggestions helped me.
Thanks again!

Jane Torpie
Sr. Software Tech. Writer
Easel Corp.

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