Rewarding Those Who Care Enough To Write

Brad Feld wrote a couple of days ago about rewarding early feedback with features:

Occasionally you get feedback. Sometimes it’s precise – a feature request, a suggestion for how to do something differently, or a description of something that’s not working correctly.

Reward this feedback with features. Fix the bug and then tell the person who reported it that you did and thank them for pointing it out. Implement the requested feature and tell the person that suggested it that you did it. Write a blog post about it and name the feature after the person. Be public about thanking the person for the suggestion.

Every time we get a feature request it goes into a database attached to that feature. (Really just a field with a bunch of names and emails.) When we implement the feature, we email those who requested it thanking them for doing so and telling them it will be in the next release. It definitely makes a profound impact — like handwriting a thank you note — and guarantee it has increased customer loyalty. I have some customers who have stuck with us for over 10 years, following us from one platform to the next as Palm then Windows Mobile then BlackBerry and now iOS and Android come and go from favor.

This isn’t the only way to do it. I’m sure there are many. But I do know that making customers feel special never hurts, especially early ones who are taking a big risk on you and your product.