On Uber: Big Data and Blind Spots


On Uber: Big Data and Blind Spots

Recently Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, took to Facebook to defend his company against complaints from long-time users that the quality of service is degrading in San Francisco. It’s a fantastic display of transparency which you don’t often see ...

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Have New Hires Give you Product Feedback


Have New Hires Give you Product Feedback

In one of my favorite business books, Made to Stick, the authors describe a very important concept: the Curse of Knowledge. This Curse affects everyone at some point. Once you gather enough knowledge about something, it’s very difficult for you ...

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Beta Testing is a Job. Don’t Stiff Your Customers.


Beta Testing is a Job. Don’t Stiff Your Customers.

All too often I see companies inviting customers into betas of new products (real betas, not “Google Betas”), reaping the benefits of their feedback, and then telling those customers to pay for these new features. I can kind of understand ...

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If You’re Not Going to Take Customer Feedback into Account, Don’t Do Beta Testing


If You’re Not Going to Take Customer Feedback into Account, Don’t Do Beta Testing

I’ll keep this one short. At this point, most C-suite folks know that “beta testing” is one of those things you have to do. They make sure it’s on their checklist. However, this “beta test” is often slotted for the ...

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There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Idea, Just a Bad Solution to a Real Problem


There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Idea, Just a Bad Solution to a Real Problem

It’s really, really easy to read some customer feedback and think “that’s stupid.” My favorite example: “I want the widget to be blue.” What? No. That’s stupid. The widget is orange. If you’ve been having a bad day it’s even ...

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feature requests = complaints = insights = success


Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, recently wrote a post on Inc about why he loves his angriest customers. I fully agree with the general sentiment: “Complaints are great; the more detailed, the better. They tell us where our product or overall ...

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Doug Turnure of Microsoft Visual Studio at UserConf – Customer conversations at massive scale


Doug Turnure was the odd man out at UserConf. We had a bunch of hip, young, startup or recently-a-startup companies present. And then there was Doug and Microsoft. But what was impressive about Doug’s presentation is how he clearly stated ...

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How MUCH Do They Want it?


How MUCH Do They Want it?

Last month I got a nasty cold. I did a little bit of work – with UserConf NYC coming up I couldn’t skip work entirely – but mostly I laid in bed, drank liquids, and watched The West Wing. Somehow ...

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Everyone’s Customers Are Wrong & Their Data Is Lying


Everyone’s Customers Are Wrong & Their Data Is Lying

This month I had the pleasure of presenting at Nadia Eghbal‘s Startup Product Summit. As one of the few non-product managers speaking, I wanted to tell a cautionary tale about putting too much trust in data or your customers. As ...

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Yes, Say No


Yes, Say No

As part of our series on the importance of company culture, we’re highlighting our company values here at UserVoice. Find more posts about culture here. A company that doesn’t value the opinions of their workers is a company that expects their employees ...

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Say No to Your Customers


Say No to Your Customers

noIf you asked me to attend your birthday party and I just stared at you silently, you’d think I was a jerk (or that there was something wrong with me). If you asked me and I said “no, sorry, I already have plans” you might be sad, but you’d understand.

So why do companies think that they can’t say “no”?

I frequently hear people worry about collecting customer feedback because they don’t want to decline customer suggestions. They think it will make customers angry. But by not responding to customer requests for features you know you don’t plan to build (whether they come in via Twitter, email, UserVoice Feedback, or wherever), you’re being the awkward staring guy I mentioned above. In the eyes of the customer, you’re being rude by not saying no.

People like honesty from the people and companies they interact with. And they like closure. Saying “no” isn’t mean - it’s actually a service to them. They don’t have to wonder if and when you’ll build a specific feature. They won’t complain about how you’re not really paying attention to their feedback. Instead, they’ll appreciate that they got an answer.

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Why customer feedback shouldn’t be an afterthought


Why customer feedback shouldn’t be an afterthought

Feedback is going to define your company at some point or another, whether you want it or not. Every single company story is one of customer feedback. Apple heard (feedback) that computers (theirs, but moreso Microsoft’s) were perceived as complex ...

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7 Ways to Avoid Annoying Customers with Surveys and Feedback


7 Ways to Avoid Annoying Customers with Surveys and Feedback

Last month the New York Times wrote an article about how more companies than ever before are asking their customers for feedback. Let me first say: glory hallelujah, companies are finally trying to understand their customers. But the article highlights ...

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Why Customer Feedback is Important, How to Collect it, and How to Convince Your Boss it’s Important


This week I spoke at the Online Community Meetup in San Francisco, discussing a subject dear to my heart: customer feedback. Here’s my presentation. Why Customer Feedback is Important, How to Collect it, and How to Convince Your Boss it’s ...

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Are you looking for feedback in the right place?


Many companies think that asking for feedback is something you do passively at the bottom of your newsletter, or in a survey every 3 months, or when people quit your service. Why not ask for feedback at the points where ...

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Favorite SXSW Panel: Stop Listening to Your Customers


My favorite session at South by Southwest this year was entitled “Stop Listening to Your Customers”. That may seem a little strange for a blog all about understanding your customers, but bear with me. Presenters Nate Bolt and Mark Trammell ...

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What Are Your Customers Thankful For?


We spend a lot of time as marketers, founders, and community managers talking about what our product does. We design feature comparisons. We write “how to” guides. We give elevator pitches. But what are your customers actually thankful for? It ...

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If You Isolate the Person Who Talks to Customers, You’re Ignoring Your Customers


If You Isolate the Person Who Talks to Customers, You’re Ignoring Your Customers

Is the person who knows what your customers think located somewhere else in the building? If so, no matter how hard you work to listen to and understand your customers, you’re essentially ignoring them. In a piece from all the ...

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Getting Customer Feedback Is Not a Right


A disturbing number of companies seem to have the same misconception: that getting customer feedback is a right, and responding to it is a favor. I'm not sure where this idea comes from. Here in the USA we have a ...

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Case Study: Xomba Knows that Listening to Ideas Honestly Means Declining Many


Case Study: Xomba Knows that Listening to Ideas Honestly Means Declining Many

You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. It’s a funny phrase, isn’t it? Of course you need to break the eggshell…otherwise you can’t get the delicious, delicious egg into the pan! But we seem to forget this ...

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Take Care of the Company, Empower the Customer


Last week, we raised the issue of company-initiated conversations and how essential it is to have companies involved up front when it comes to customer feedback. Since launching UserVoice last year (April 17th), we’ve intentionally aimed our service at appealing ...

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