It’s always good to listen to the customers

Yesterday I attended the launch of some new Antec products. One of the things Antec told me is that they actually read the emails we put through. They get the complaints and the suggestions and they actually read them. I have now talked to a company that has some inkling of “the customer.”

As Cyber Shack’s lead writer at the moment, I was drastically looking for something to write an editorial on yesterday.

Do I talk about the MacBook Air or do I wait until I’m given one to play with?

Do I comment on all the HD and Blu-Ray issues? No, no… far too bubbling a pot for me to touch at the moment

I did see one issue though that I found interesting for both myself and the consumer (you… the one reading this).

Yesterday I attended the launch of some new Antec products. Most of you probably won’t have a clue what I’m on about so I’ll just say the random spiel of “Antec produce cases, power supplies, and other accessories for the PC market”. Primarily, Antec make cases for the enthusiast and gaming sector as well as good power supplies. I myself have Antec cases at home and have for a while.

Anyway, while interviewing the Senior Vice President of Antec Scott Richards (which will be on Cyber Shack Radio in the next week or so), I got to asking about the design of Antec’s cases as I was curious what it was like for a company to develop with the help of the community. The case I’ve currently got at the moment is the Antec P180, a case I opted for the original PC I built a few years ago. When I was researching the P180, I made sure I was one of the first people in the country to buy one because I had read how much work they’d done to make it as good as possible based on ideas and suggestions from the enthusiast community.

That struck me as a good thing. Here was a company actually working with the people that buy their products. The evolution of case design was taking place because we were finally being listened to and a case was created by us and for us.

It was like democracy only with overclocking and nifty thumb screws.

One of the things Scott told me is that they (Antec) actually read the emails we put through. They get the complaints and the suggestions and they actually read them.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I remember the first Antec case I ever owned had some stupid faults. The original Sonata was made to be incredibly quiet and yet someone had the intelligence to drill holes on the side spelling out Antec and simultaneously increasing noise. They also had a door that only swung open so far and broke pretty quickly as well as blue light that always kept me up at late. I remember putting some big slippers over the light so I could fall asleep. We in the tech community called it the Deathstar Light as a result.

When the Sonata II came out, I was building a computer and opted for that case. Antec must have listened to our complaints because much of what we had complained about (like the Antec logo holes, the rather flimsy door, and the irritating blue light) was fixed.

The reason I write about all of this sort of thing is this:

I have now talked to a company that has some inkling of “the customer.”

“The customer” is that feeling you get knowing that once you’ve purchased said product, your input might be valuable because you are essentially a “valued customer”.

But how many companies do you know where the customer hasn’t been thought of and things like products & drivers are worse off? Where they must have sat around in meetings for days on end not so much discussing ways to screw the customer but just not thinking about what the consumers would actually want and instead looking to how to fatten their wallets instead?

I can name numerous companies that need to think of the customer. Companies that should be listening to the complaints, suggestions, rants, and raves in order to make their products just that much better and learn from their mistakes.

The point of it all is that when you do listen to the customer, it makes you stronger as a brand. We, the people who will be shelling dollars on your products, are the ones who will tell others to buy it. They’ll tell their friends, read our reviews, laugh at people who bought the worse brand and tell them to move to the good brand. Your brand.

Companies take note: by ignoring us, you’re hurting yourself.

Written by Leigh D. Stark

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