In an article about how to measure success in early entrepreneurship, Forbes writes, “It’s about getting feedback on what parts of your offering need improvement, and learning to turn feedback into a better product.” Customer feedback allows businesses to directly see how their products or services are being received by their consumer base and what things they can improve. It is important to keep a healthy relationship between a business and it’s consumers.
In an age of instant sharing, consumers can express their opinions on products they purchase the second they get them. Social media also offers a new platform for businesses to connect with customers, creating a new aspect of customer service. Companies like T-Mobile have realized the importance of connecting to customers online and a 2012 study by social media insights company socialbakers showed that T-Mobile responded to 86 percent of the questions/comments it received on social media over a three-month period. Some companies, however, had to adapt to the new wave of social media so that they could survive and thrive off of instant customer connections.
At a Product Council event hosted at the LAB June 6th, Joe Olmstead opened up about why customer sentiment determines the success of Alienware and how the company has learned from its social media mistakes. Olmstead reflects on a product that had issues when launched and how customers reacted online.
Olmstead confesses that they “throttled” the product and were focused on selling inventory rather than delivering a product that was performing at full potential. This move did not go unnoticed by Alienware consumers and there was an outpour of disapproval and complaints on social media and the Internet. At this point, Alienware made a big mistake and chose to take to social media and defend their product rather than believe their customers. Olmstead said that Alienware declared they were correct, and, in turn, they were “beaten down” by social media and their consumers. This new form of customer review was a learning point and, with newfound knowledge, Alienware now has an entire team that immediately takes to sites like Reddit after a new product release to receive feedback and connect with angry customers. A business cannot be successful with unhappy customers; the reactions from the consumer market help determine the success of a company and not realizing this connection can be catastrophic for a business. As always we hope you continue to learn, act, and build at the LAB Miami.