I want to be a Glass Explorer! Let me explain. I recently entered Google's Twitter and Google+ competition to become a Glass Explorer, giving me a shot at purchasing a pair of wearable augmented reality glasses for a whopping $1,500, and the privilege of testing them out before they become available for public sale. To understand how out of character this is for me, you should know that my laptop is pushing 5 years old and only recently did I acquire a used second-generation smartphone. In short, I am far from a gadget junkie. Putting aside the excellent marketing campaign that Google has executed around Glass, I had to ask myself, why I so desperately wanted these glasses?
I think the answer lies in the fact that with these glasses, I become part of a very small, but unique community where my feedback matters, is taken seriously and could ultimately be integrated into the end product. This possibility makes me extremely invested in the whole idea.
Google’s customer-centric approach is a large part of the company’s success and has allowed it to become one of the most popular and loved corporations in the world. With the love that people display for Google products, one could say that it enjoys an almost cult-like following. While the cult appeal of consumer oriented companies is more or less understood, B2B companies can also benefit from this model and develop methods to leverage the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm that come with a cult following.
At the risk of sounding like a marketing professional, I think SysAid understands this model very well, valuing a customer-centric approach and clearly taking a vested interest in its dialogue with customers, pathfinders (beta testers), and in building their community.
Ardent devotees of SysAid provide honest and critical feedback through open discussions in the online community and through regularly scheduled roundtables and webinars. These highly motivated and intelligent people do not simply belt out “Hallelujah” with every new product roll-out. Rather, they have constructive ideas about how to enhance the product or how to most effectively meet the needs of IT professionals. Learning to incorporate this direct feedback has proven to be an invaluable tool for the Company, and more generally, is probably the most important philosophical shift that takes place for any company managing a passionate fan base.
Listening to suggestions from customers can help a company understand their offering through the customers' eyes, leading to a heightened awareness of what they want and need, ultimately making decision-making smarter. With a core group of evangelists (pathfinders) and an active customer community, SysAid has developed a product that has not only introduced many industry first capabilities, but also addresses the needs of IT administrators on an ongoing basis.
Nurturing an open corporate culture where suggestions may be systematically implemented, building a group of evangelists and promoting overall transparency has allowed both SysAid and Google to build stronger customer relationships, in turn enabling innovation and the development of superior products in their respective markets.
And in case you were wondering, it looks like I'll be buying my Google Glass with the rest of you towards the end of 2013.