Re: Customer Feedback

Subject: Re: Customer Feedback
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 12:45:24 -0700

At 03:37 PM 4/23/96 GMT, Gwen Barnes wrote:
>For a while, we included a general "customer comment" card with products
[snip]

>I have mixed feelings about them, because I don't think they represent
>the "typical" customer,
[snip]
>Most of the ones who wrote negative comments seem to have gone out of
>their way to be nasty. Only rarely were the comments useful or
>constructive, and the reply cards didn't tell me anything about the
>manuals I didn't already know -- the people who had the most difficulty
>are sub-literate and can't handle material written at an 8th grade
>reading level. Maybe videos would be better for those people.

>They either complain that the material is far too complex for "ordinary
>people" to comprehend so why did we bother, or it's so simplified it's
>downright insulting, and what they really want is some technical info.
>Same books ...

I agree with Gwen, here. Usually, the customers who feel compelled
to send in the card do so because they are totally frustrated with
the product -- and, while this is important to know about, it makes
for a lopsided view of the documentation.

>As for phone surveys, put yourself in the customer's shoes: "Hi, this is
>Wanda from Obfuscated Software, and I'd like to ask you a few
>questions". Sure, Wanda, but right now I'm having dinner, or just sat
>down to watch TV, or just on my way to an important meeting, and do you
>realize that I've spent more time on the phone answering your customer
>surveys than I have using your product???
[snip]

But here I disagree. Although I've only done a true telephone survey
in conjunction with beta testing (and I suppose you could assume that
beta customers are more receptive to answering questions than are the
buying kind), I got some excellent feedback -- and comments like,
"Wow! A software company that cares! Cooool!"

Another thought -- I have in the past, and probably will again, asked
technical support to provide me with phone numbers of customers who
call in with problems -- particularly if they mention the documentation
during the call. You can get a good view of the doc's shortcomings from
these people. Of course, they'll seldom have anything *good* to say.

FWIW
Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
--Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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