Listening to your customers is mostly a good idea. The conundrum is what to listen too. In general, grips about your product or service should be acted upon quickly. New features, functions or pricing, that’s a whole other story. Neil’s post on his experience echos several I have had. Customers always want a better deal for themselves. Therefore, they will push you to do what’s good for them, not necessary what is good for you. Clearly, the balance between rolling over to every whim and being a stone cold a-hole is a hard one.
Customers will always push on price since that’s in their best interest. If your product has clear value and you understand that, then the confidence that gives you should help stave off the pricing death march. Features are a whole other ball game.
Usually, a customer wants a specific feature because it solves their immediate problems or everyone else has it. Neil’s example of the 80/20 rule also applies to features. 80% of the time, only 20% of the features are actually used. Just look at a Word Processor or Spreadsheet.
I guess the morale of this story is don’t bend to every customer whim. Do the research and the math to see if it actually makes sense for you as well as your customers.
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