Liars! Why Talking to Your Customers Is So Important

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

Windows Error Reporting MessageWe're all (too) familiar with the "This program has stopped responding" message when Windows decides to crash something. You know that little message that pops up after the error? The one that says "Report this bug?" What does Microsoft do with that information? Does it actually go anywhere? Does it suffer the same fate as Dwight's complaints against Jim, stuck under Toby's desk in a big trash bag? Or does that information actually help Microsoft debug and improve their OS/software?

The problem is, I have no idea what happens to that information. And that's why I hardly, ever, hit "send." Why would I make the extra effort to contribute something if I have no idea if my contribution will matter? This, unfortunately, is an all too common error in customer service and marketing (which, I happen to think are one in the same). Companies, or inviduals for that matter, request user generated content with the promise that it will help "shape the future" or "make a difference," but what happens all those suggestions?

Maybe I should hit "send" more often; but until Microsoft starts publishing how those sent error messages make a difference, I've lost my motivation. In those situations, all it takes something simple like, "You reported/suggested these changes, here's how we've responded." If they did that, I'm confident my brand loyalty to Microsoft would actually go up -- even if the errors continued. I guess my point is two-fold. One: don't ask for my input and never provide updates. Two: don't ask me for my input if you never plan on making any changes in the first place.

(On a sidenote, it didn't take too long for me to capture that error message image...sad...)

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