feedback

I had written a few days ago about how Microsoft took customer feedback too much to heart with the Xbox One, which resulted in an E3 showing that was too focused and none too exciting.  It’s only fair that I now point to where Microsoft has used customer feedback in exactly the right away.

Gabe is a comic book artist at Penny Arcade.  He went on Microsoft’s radar after he wrote a glowing review of the first Surface Pro; possibly the most positively influential of all the coverage given to Microsoft’s first gen device.  As a comic book artist, the Surface Pro’s thin-and-light tablet form factor and pen were transformative.  Not surprisingly, he liked the second version even more.

So the Surface team was likely looking forward to getting his reaction to the Surface Pro 3, which is a giant leap better than its predecessors.  Except, Gabe had a few major problems with it and posted a less-than-glowing review.

So Microsoft did the right thing and tried to learn what went wrong.  Check out Gabe’s remarkable update here.  Read it and mosey back.

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Oh Microsoft.  The tech giant can’t seem to catch a break.  Last year, Microsoft was criticized for spending too much time on non-gaming things: voice control, TV, original programming, the NFL, etc.  So Microsoft listened to customers (or the press?) and at this year’s E3, the beleaguered company didn’t talk about anything but games, games and games.  And yet, people complained that Microsoft’s presentation was too focused and uninspired.  Forbes‘ take, for example:

[The presentation] wasn’t bad, so much — some of the games looked great, even if many weren’t exclusives — but it was decidedly safe. There wasn’t much that felt exciting coming from Microsoft, and you could sense that in the presentation as well. It was timid. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but you could feel it in the room. For a company that needs to re-invigorate its console, it doesn’t feel great.

It’s a catch-22 situation for Microsoft: damned for talking about non-gaming things, damned for only talking about games.

This is no paradox, however.  Microsoft’s mistake is in taking feedback too literally.  The objective of your business is not to listen to customers, the objective is to impress them enough so that they actually spend time or money on you.  Microsoft focused too much on listening and not enough on the actual wowing.

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