Sunday, March 23, 2008

New York Times Article: Managing Loud Customer Feedback

There is an interesting article by Dan Mitchell in the New York Times about bias and feedback titled, 'The Thin Skin of Apple Fans.' There are wide ranging examples from Apple to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cited. Apple fans just want pro-Apple news stories and reviews and how they react harshly when there is any "hint of negativity." Pro-palestinian and pro-Israel people react the same way when viewing news stories.

Managing customer feedback channels have this same problem. There is the "squeaky wheel syndrome" we face where the most opinionated customers of a product frequently are the ones that are catered to. This loud feedback can be fast-tracked into new product features before you realize what is being missed, if ever. Here is a great quote from the article:

"...it's unfair that abusive people get better treatment and conditions than nice people."

So true. This speaks to companies that don't have a proper Listening Channel and let those Squeaky-wheelers define product strategy.

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