Saturday, November 15, 2008

Customers Know Best

If you are reading this article now, you must be a PC user.

There are about 650-700 mil PC users worldwide and about 3 mil in Singapore. Are they happy with their PC? Do they know what makes a good PC? Perhaps they do have some great ideas...

That is precisely what Intel (chip maker) and ASUS (PC maker) have in mind.

They have launched a project asking people to say what they would like to see in a PC. Bold and wild dreams of all possibilities are most welcome as the companies rave the users to help build the first community-designed PC.

The companies believe in the combined creative energy of consumers and that "the spark for innovation can come from anywhere.'

This is what I call 'consumer feedback' going a big way!

Typically, companies will set up some kind of feedback channel for customers. Feedback forms are commonly found on dining tables in restaurants and cashier counters in retail shops. I believe that some customers will make an effort to let their voices heard. The question is, what do these companies do with the feedback?

I have once filled in a feedback form in a restaurant, just to see how it might come back to me. I gave my ratings on the food and service quality and had specifically added that I would like to be contacted. I heard from no one. Short of spelling out the name, I shall just say that it was a fairly reputable restaurant chain.

I have also tried to give my feedback in commercial websites. While not everyone thought it was important to reply, many did and they did so within a short turnaround time.

If our businesses are keen to stay ahead, they really have to see things from their customers' viewpoint. Listening to customers' feedback is so last century. Engaging in a customer conversation is more sustainable to keep up with fast changing customer needs and tastes.

Intel and ASUS are doing the right thing. If you have some ideas on what makes a good PC, you can share you dreams at the dedicated website. If you do not have any ideas yet, some of the posted ideas might help you to germinate new ones. They promised: "You Dream it. ASUS Builds it. Intel Inside it."

There is no limit to creativity, unless you limit it.

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