I think that it's vital that big companies sit up, listen and take note of what consumers are saying. It seems that OEM giant Dell is doing just that.
This from a piece on the Microsoft website:
Dell Innovation Driven By Customers
Last June, the company held its inaugural Customer Advisory Panel (CAP) Days event in Round Rock, Texas, inviting customers active in social media to work for two days side by side with company executives. Dell also recently launched a social media "command center," where teams monitor and respond to conversations with people around the world.
"We use all this information not just from a marketing perspective, but to measure the performance of products and people," Tatelman [Michael Tatelman, vice president and general manager, Consumer Sales and Marketing] says. "And it's not just the ratings. We have people reading deep down into the posts and threads, looking for ways to improve our products and for new things we can do."
Ratings and rankings are filtered by keyword and product, allowing engineers to translate the feedback and build the next generation of products.
Not only is it vital that the big guys listen, but that customers give honest feedback - both positive and negative. A company can't respond if customers don't say how they feel.
To be fair, while I've spilled a lot of negative virtual ink about Dell on this blog over the years, it is a company that listens and actively responds to criticism. Like every company, there are those who have their tales of woe, and sometimes you have to work at getting your point across, but on the whole Dell is doing a pretty good job. Good to see it taking things to the next level.