Some companies rock it when it comes to customer feedback. They understand that listening to the opinions of people who have spent money with them is worth more than paying for a million focus groups.
Some businesses go nearly overboard in listening and adjusting based upon customer feedback. For instance, David Perdew actually adjusts his live event (NAMS) during the three-day weekend based upon the feedback he's getting. Now that's dedication x 1000!
It's not that hard. You've just got to listen.
If you listen, you can increase profits dramatically.
However, when you don't listen, social media and bloggers can make that really really apparent… fast. Rather than getting kudos for listening and valuing your customer feedback, they write blog posts like this one that say “DO BETTER!” as you shall see in a moment.
One such company is really screwing this up in my not so humble opinion – and I think we all can learn a lesson from it.
Barnes & Noble.
Apparently technology is increasing at a rate faster than common sense.
Barnes & Noble has several models of their NOOK which is basically the same as a Kindle. They have a black and white version and also one that's color and resembles a standard Tablet and can be used for surfing the internet.
Barnes & Noble is marketing these as gifts for children.
HOWEVER… there is next to zero parental control on these things for violence and/or porn. Yeah, that's right. Gramma's Christmas gift to Junior is a porn viewer, too.
Parents have been asking for ways to limit the access to certain books, apps, and the internet for well over a year in the B&N forums and there's been little done to help.
See this screenshot from January of 2011… where people are asking for very simple ways to help them limit their kids exposure to nastiness.
Meanwhile, kiddos and teens have access to these Nooks, in their bedrooms, alone. Parents think “Oh, they're reading… how awesome!” Or not.
Unfortunately, when left to their own curiosity, kids will make bad choices. They may start innocently enough, but over days, weeks, months.. the searches and what they find can become pretty aggressive and dangerous.
No, we don't expect Barnes & Noble to parent our children. However, some simple options could easily be implemented that would show that they are listening to their customers. And, they could enact some safeguards to help us to encourage a love of reading in our children without giving them free access to the internet and/or inappropriate apps.
1. Make the bookstore searchable with a filter in place.
2. Make it super easy to turn off the wifi capability so that internet can't be accessed – and then to turn it back on when we wish.
3. Make it easy to have a separate bookshelf for the kids on our accounts. If I choose to read “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I certainly don't need it on the bookshelf on my kids' Nooks.
4. Perhaps offer a parental control where, if the internet is turned on, we can view the past browsing history in our account.
5. Just a simple one-check option during setup would be great. “I am a MINOR!” (‘Nuff said?)
So, my issue here is two-fold from a business stand-point.
1. Don't market a product to kids if it's not safe for kids.
2. LISTEN to your customers. If they've been asking for a feature for over a year and a half – and it's a good recommendation, then at least meet us halfway.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear yours.
PS. Yes, this blog post is also a Public Service Announcement. If you have internet browsing on your kids' Nook, Kindle, or phone – they WILL make bad choices. Talk with them about this issue and monitor their usage. Don't trust them to do the right thing. There's just too much temptation out there. (And, don't even get me started on teen sexting… UG.)