IOD: Send us your videos… Channel9 Style


I can't take total credit for this one.  Our team was brainstorming on how to get people internally to care more about providing great responses to help customers. One technique, that some teams have had success with, is actually bringing customers on-site to talk to their teams.  This works pretty well when the customers all live in the area, but no-one really has the budget to fly in customers just to get there comments on what it's like to work with us and use our products.  Then we thought... why not ask customers to send us videos of themselves answering some basic questions, demoing their favorite tool, or showing us how they use our tools? 

This came to me as I spent the morning in a state of excited terror doing a whirlwind tour of 30 visual studio devs in 90 minutes with a Channel9 camera in chase.  I think we wore Scoble out. 

Back to the idea.... Would anyone be willing to do this? The main questions we would love to hear an answer for is...

Can you describe your experience(s) communicating with Microsoft? What venues did you use? What were the results of the communication? If the response(s) you received were less than satisfactory could you describe what could have made the response(s) better?  Describe your level of satisfaction with your communication with Microsoft. 

Feel free to leave your answers below as well, but if you can digitize your explanation in video form... that would be super cool.  Plus you could also do a Channel9 style demo of your software. Any takers?

Comments (4)
  1. AT says:

    > experience communicating with Microsoft?

    Microsoft is extremely slow at reacting to custom feedback. Very often good suggestions get lost or people who must reply on email – forget about this.

    You need to ping or query for status of any your communications every 4-6 weeks.

    > results ?

    If you pinged for status correctly and were able to find correct Product Group for this feature – you will get results.

    http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-954590.html

    "senior program manager for Microsoft’s Security Response Center, said the flaw was originally reported to another division within the company"

    > what could have made batter ?

    No lies. I’ve NOT seen this often – but sometimes people from MS can give promises – but later another person can change promise or implement suggestion in totally different way (sometimes reverse to original suggestion).

    As well MS still does a lot of PR (I’m unsure about last year – but in the past it was true). Instead of recognizing problems – MS tiring to follow marketing/PR rules published here:

    http://www.bcentral.co.uk/issues/marketing/marketingmethods/badpublicity.mspx?pf=true

    As well – some people (I do not tell that everybody – but there are a few bed sheep) does not take communication with customers seriously.

    I think Microsoft can add more motivations for insiders to listen on outsiders’ feedback.

    > level of satisfaction ?

    I will set my satisfaction level as neutral. Microsoft is only a huge team of people.

    I get the same experience as with any other company or I think similar satisfaction has my customers.

    As for communications – I think there are very big problem for customers and Microsoft in expectations everybody has.

    Every customer that it’s come to discussion about Microsoft think about "richest" person in the World – William Henry Gates III or about Microsoft a monopoly only lazy programmer will not blame for his own faults.

    A lot of customers expect too much in return for their feedback and does not recognize that there are limited resources available for Microsoft or that his feedback has some flaws.

    In the same time I want to warn Microsoft about possibly wrong expectation related to communication with customers. It will NOT be a silver bullet or panacea. Communication unable to solve all problems. Actually only a few customers directly connected with Microsoft – all others are not aware about those possible connections or unable to provide valuable feedback.

    I would like customers and Microsoft does not expect too much from communication or openness. Microsoft dog-food a lot of software internally, has a separate support and consulting services (who can contribute back to development teams) and a lot of paid partners, valuable customers or joint-ventures (for example http://www.accenture.com).

    I think that Microsoft can focus of most effective use of already available resources – instead of/in addition to relying on fictional "Community". Thouse customers and parters are mandatory part of this community.

  2. AT says:

    P.S> MS does very bad job in managing their website. I’m talking about various websites – ranging from extranet websites, Product Feedback and up to public websites.

    Check out

    http://www.microsoft.com/hpc

    And try to click on link "Benchmarking Intel Systems and Understanding the Results"

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/hpc/intbench.asp

    This about the same as IBM claiming that they have best super-computers with terabytes and teraflops – but in this article URL is too long and you must remove whitespace from it manualy to open:

    http://www-1.ibm.com/press/PressServletForm.wss?MenuChoice=pressreleases&TemplateName=ShowPressReleaseTemplate&SelectString=t1.docunid=7184&TableName=DataheadApplicationClass&SESSIONKEY=any&WindowTitle=Press+Release&STATUS=publish

    "Photos of Blue Gene/L available at:

    http://domino.research.ibm.com/Comm/bios.nsf/pages/bluegene-2004.html(Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser’s URL address field. You may also need to remove an extra space in the URL if one exists.) "

    I do not understand why companies like MSFT and IBM unable to manage their websites correctly.

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