I spent nearly 90 minutes on the phone today with the folks at ACD Systems, the makers of the awesome ACDSee. I’ve been using ACDSee since 1998 or so, and always upgrade to every new version (though to be fair the upgrade process has been free lately because I’m a member of “the media”). Why would I spent 90 minutes on the phone with them? I’ve been giving them direct feedback here and there about their product via email for a little over a year now, and they suggested a phone call to talk about my ideas and suggestions for their product so I obliged.
There was a product planner, a developer, and a marketing person in the room, and they let me open up my brain and dump all the ideas, fixes, improvements, and concepts I had for how I thought ACDSee could be made even better. I feel very passionate about computer hardware and software that I use, and am always looking for opportunities to improve it. That’s partially out of a desire to have a better tool for my own needs, but it’s also because when I pick a product I tend to stick with it – I have a very strong sense of loyalty, like a sports fan to his home team, so I want to see the product I’ve picked “win” in the market.
The folks at ACDSee are great – they listened intently, engaged me on many levels to drill down into my ideas, and were genuinely enthused to listen to me talk about how I’d like to see the product improved. The next version won’t have everything I asked for of course, but I bet I’ll see quite a few of the little things addressed.
Any company that’s willing to engage deeply with their customers is a winner in my books – more companies should do it, but most are afraid of their customers and try to keep them at arm’s length.
Now I just need to find a way to make money doing this… 😉