Letters from the Masses: Are You Really Hearing Your Community?

Posted on 02 August 2010

Since I’m the Community Manager of the Tabblo group here at HP, I’m involved in quite a few projects.  In addition to Tabblo and Tabbloid we’ve created some projects for some of the more common social networks.  This means we’ve had to appeal to a diverse audience, which also means I’ve supported that same, diverse audience.

In an effort to engage some of the engineers I work with I’ve created physical lists of the feedback I’ve received and posted them around the office.  I made sure to get some of the funny ones as well as some of the serious ones just to mix it up a bit.  If I can get a chuckle out of an engineer who is reading member feedback, he/she may read more, and that NEVER hurts!

Some people complain that CM’s get a raw deal because they hear people’s complaints all day long, and that may be true, BUT, I also get some real gems!  It really makes my day to have someone go out of their way to let me know that they really appreciate something we’ve done for them.  That’s my fuel, is it yours?

Here are a few examples of my favorite, less pleasant ones.

From the simple:

“This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“This sucks.  I hate it.  It is not fun.  It hurts me to use it.”

To the detailed:

“This application is not only a complete waste of time and horrible, but shouldn’t be appearing on _______.  I look on my friends list and EVERYONE is bitching that they go to click on their top friends and this magically appears.  It’s slow to show up and keep freakin’ annoying EVERYONE.  This application is retarded (only 4 friends!!!) and just a complete waste of space but moreover it is ANNOYING EVERYONE.  I’m glad I clicked on to this to find out it’s an HP program.  I will never buy HP again.”

We’ve also had some really nice ones.

Some of the simple variety:

“This is poppin'” (”This is one of my favorites!)

“This program is wonderful.  Thank you and the staff for making something so useful and convenient, free to us users.”

“This is SO CUTE.  I love it.”

Some went into TOO much detail and get a bit creepy:

“This is so awesome.  My dog just died and this made it perfect. GREAT IDEA!!!”

(I know it was phrased incorrectly, but I can’t help but picture this little girl making photocubes of her dead dog.)

Some share some really personal stuff:

“I wanted to communicate to you how much I enjoyed making photo cubes.  I’m a retired grandmother and most of my family is on the east coast but I’ve printed out so many photo cubes of my grandchildren it makes me feel like they are here with me.  Thank you all for helping me feel like my family is all around me.  I love all the fun projects I can start using family photos.”

One thing is for sure, people want to let you know what they think of something you’ve done.  Good or bad, you’ve got to treat each one the same in order to provide a high level of service.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that CM’s do the dirty work of answering customer email, logging bugs, and performing administrative tasks for the benefit of the community.

If you pay attention,

and you listen closely,

and if you respond as a human being,

you’ll be rewarded.

What interesting feedback have YOU received in the past and what have you done with it?  Do your co-workers know how your community is faring?  Could you do more to engage everyone to view your projects as your customers do?

-Eric


2 responses to Letters from the Masses: Are You Really Hearing Your Community?

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Blaise Grimes-Viort, ericfoster. ericfoster said: From the Community Manager Mailbox: Funny notes from end users. http://bit.ly/cWsFIz […]

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