Angry Angry Customers

As a community manager, this is my worst nightmare.  Oh boy, I guess user input wasn’t part of the feature release process. Mike Arrington has the story, and end of day wrap up. Fast responses from the product team, however the damage will take time to undo.

I’ve seen feature releases happen many times with websites where users were not involved, the results are hit and miss.  I like 37 Signals approach, they involve users/customers nearly every step of the product development cycle.  Customers have such ‘loud’ voices now, they’re in charge now, what’s your thoughts?

  • http://www.techcrunch.com michael arrington

    Screw customer input is what I say. building something your customers want is boring. Building something they didn’t know they wanted is something else entirely. Sony Walkman is a perfect example. Seth Godin’s books, particularly Purple Cow, really get into this.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Haven’t read the book, but I know the premise from hearing Seth Speak.

    Sony rolls out lots of products, some are hit and some are miss –they just wait for adoption.

    Michael, I swear you never sleep. (2:23am) You’ve been blogging all day.

  • http://www.blogbusinesssummit.com Teresa Valdez Klein

    The student reaction over the Facebook feeds is certainly nightmareish. But what’s even more nightmareish is that even students who purport to care about privacy do nothing to change their privacy settings.

    According to Newsweek, only 17% of Facebook users ever make changes to their privacy settings. If they don’t want their information broadcast to everyone, it doesn’t need to happen that way.

    The problem here is that Facebook is giving people my age more credit than we’re due by assuming that we have the discipline to pay attention to detail and think critically about the systems we engage in. Most people my age don’t have these skills because we’re all spoiled brats who think everything will be set up just the way we want it without our having to do any work whatsoever.

    The feed feature at the heart of this debate has an option that allows users to keep information they deem “private” (as if anything on the Web is private) from entering the feed. It’s easy to use, if you take the time to read the directions.

    Problem is, nobody does that anymore.

  • http://www.blogbusinesssummit.com Teresa Valdez Klein

    That is, I meant to say “nightmarish”…

  • http://dbillian.typepad.com Damon Billian

    I actually had to deal with this at PayPal and eBay quite a bit. Some things to recognize:

    1. The community, while large and valuable, isn’t always going to like what you build. You have to couple the community outrage w/actual incoming contacts from customers via customer service.

    2. Look for suggestions to improve the product based on the feedback you are seeing.

    3. Always leave potentially controversial product choices as optional (whenever possible).

    4. If possible, at least try to take the time to explain the *why* the product was built. Did other customers request it? Did the company come up with a feature for safety reasons (such as something that benefits the WHOLE community of customers, not just those active on the web).

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  • http://www.blogbusinesssummit.com/ Teresa Valdez Klein

    That is, I meant to say “nightmarish”…