Use your customers to improve your product

I have been using Microsoft Office 2010 for a few months now. When I closed Word the other day, the following dialogue appeared on the screen. Basically Word had made a list of words that I commonly use that are not in the Word dictionary, and gave me the option of uploading them to their spell check database.

I am sure that they are using the community-gathered information to add new words to the dictionary to make for an ultimately better product.

This is a simple and elegant way to make a better product, and to have happier customers.

  • What are you doing to make your products better?
  • How are you involving your customers?
  • Is it easy for your customers to provide feedback?

Speaking off the cuff – a resource

You often hear me speaking about the value of impromptu speaking, and why learning to speak off the cuff is as important as learning to speak prepared.

Here is a great resource; an entire website dedicated to the art of “table topics”, or speaking impromptu.What I like about the site isĀ  that he gives you a lot of templates, or outlines you can use for practising unprepared topics.

Here is an example:

Split Personality

Number of participants: Two

The majority of the information we convey doesn’t come from what we say, but from how we say it. Bodily gestures are a large part of this. The goal of this template is to separate these different aspects of communication between two people. One participant does the talking, the other does the gesturing.

There are two ways to use this template. Either one participant talks, and the other creates the corresponding gestures, or one uses gestures, and the other talks about what the gestures are indicating.

Doing this effectively requires a reasonable amount of cooperation from the participants. It can weaken the delivery if both participants end up gesturing (once you do it, it can be a difficult thing to put down temporarily!). This should possibly be made clear to the participants.

It’s interesting to see the different ways people can take this, sometimes you may have one participant controlling the flow of the entire topic, while others will work together to figure out how the talk or story will evolve.

The purpose of this template is to give people the chance to carefully consider what their gestures are saying to an audience.

Thanks to Andrew William’s for creating the resource.

An unexpected gift

Last week, I ordered a couple of cases of wine from Getwine.co.za. When the wine arrived, Getwine alse gave me a free 100g slab of Lindt chocolate. They didn’t tell me about it when I ordered, they didn’t tell me in the delivery note, the driver didn’t mention it.

It was just tucked quietly away inside one of the boxes. That is also not the first time they have done this.

  • How do you give unexpected gifts to your customers?
  • How do you keep your customers loyal?
  • What do you do to get your customers to tell everybody about your great service?