Microsoft Listens to Its Customers

I was on the Microsoft Website today looking for something and when I clicked on “Customers and Partners Experience”  I noticed that they had a section called “How Microsoft Listens and Responds to Customers”.  For those of you have are NPS certified or have even heard of NPS, you know that one of the main differences between it and just listening to your customers is the feedback loop and then reporting back on those results.

I was surprised to find that Microsoft had created a document detailing the ways that they listen to customers.  I read the right navigation bar link “How Microsoft Listens and Responds to Customers – Find out more about how we use feedback from our global satisfaction survey and other listening systems to improve customer experiences with our products and services.” and was very intrigued.  I immediately downloaded the 11 page document and began to read.

Throughout the document it states things such as:

“For example, customers have consistently told us that they need simple ways to navigate through our licensing program options. This feedback has led us to simplify how customers acquire and pay for their licenses. Over the past several years, we have consolidated the number of Microsoft Volume Licensing offerings from 108 to 26 and reduced the complexity of volume licensing agreements by 50 to 85 percent.

Other licensing program enhancements fueled by customer feedback include our customized Product Use Rights (PUR) tool, which allows customers to easily find the terms and conditions that apply to a particular Microsoft product as well as search for and select multiple products.”

Another example of Microsoft letting its customers know how they listened to them is the Microsoft Connect Website, also mentioned in the document.

The Microsoft Connect Website has more than 1.8 million registered users, averages over 1.3 million visits per month, and has delivered more than 9.4 million downloads of applications and documents. Virtually every major business group in the company has a presence on Microsoft Connect, with more than 2,200 programs—including betas, Technical Adoption Programs, and customer advisory councils—currently hosted on the site.

“Connect is the first place I go if I want to submit feedback about a product or hear what other people are saying,” says Tom Ziegmann, a student at the University of Arizona and a Microsoft Certified Professional who regularly participates in several Connect programs, including beta testing of Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Home Server. “I can communicate directly with Microsoft developers and fellow beta testers around the world on Connect.”

How neat is that?  A college student is listened to by one of the largest companies in the world – globally ranked #117 on Fortune’s list of top companies.

If you do customer surveys or ask for opinions, do something about it.  There’s not much worse than being asked for your opinion and nothing happens with it.  Granted, not everyone’s opinion will have a direct action involved, but you can summarize results by saying that 74% of respondents said yes.  That way the few folks who said no, know that they were listened too and simply out numbered. Maybe it’ll force them to get more people involved 🙂

It’s always nice to be heard but when you’re listened to by a company, it makes for a larger impact.  If you’re a customer…speak up and give your opinion.  If you’re a company…listen and take action. The voice of the customer is a powerful tool and can be a competitive advantage.

When was the last time you were listened to?


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