When Your Users Speak, Listen To Them

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Listening, unfortunately, is a trait which many businesses lack, often times, leaving users or customers feeling upset or alienated because their needs aren’t being met or their concerns aren’t being addressed. This is why when your users (i.e. your customers when it comes to new media) speak, you should be all ears.
Traditional businesses rely on their customers to purchase their products, which in turn makes them money, and while the online business model has changed to a large degree, by acquiring faithful users or community members, you are trying to achieve a similar end.
Looking at this from the social media sites, which rely entirely on the community to produce content (from which they ultimately reap all the benefits), having unhappy users pretty much spells disaster. A great example of a site that follows this model and as a result has been listening to its user (at least to an extent) is none other than Digg. By doing this, Digg has managed to keep its users somewhat appeased. Here are a few examples:
There are several instances where Digg has altered the features of the site based on complaints by users. One recent example includes the unrest following the latest version of the commenting system. After several days of user complaints, Digg answered by releasing an altered version, promising more fixes in the near future.
Another example that I heard about only yesterday is the inclusion of a dedicated pictures section. This has yet to be implemented, but according to Kevin Rose, Digg’s Founder, on the latest edition of the popular podcast Diggnation, it is coming.
The most widely known instance of this came when Digg decided to remove stories containing a controversial HD-DVD key. When the users caught wind of the censorship, they brought the site to a halt filling the entire homepage with either the key itself or a story talking about how it had been removed. Within hours, Digg changed its stance and even posted the key itself. That story quickly became the most Dugg story in history with over 40,000 diggs.
Customer Service / Feedback
One area Digg has improved in greatly is customer service. Even though this change did not come by any loud user complaints, it should still be mentioned. Customer service is essential to any business, and the extremely poor service Digg once just didn’t cut it. Personally speaking, I have noticed a big improvement. Generally speaking, emails are now answered much more promptly. Sure they are in a ‘cut to the chase’ manner, but a reply is much better than no answer at all.
Beside simply using email, Digg employees often use Digg’s own comment sections to respond to community feedback. A recent example of this was on our recent Top 10 Needs or Improvements post. Digg’s CEO, Jay Adelson, responded by stating “We really appreciate this list, and others like it. It’s amazing to have a site with it’s own built in mass-feedback system.”
Digg is not perfect and I don’t pretend it is. In fact we have written numerous times about the problems that still plague the site. But for people looking to take their company to the next level, it might be wise to take a page or maybe only a few sentences from not only what Digg is doing right but also what the site is doing wrong. While the customer might not always be right, pleasing the customer should be a priority.

Steve Searer

Steve Searer

Steve Searer

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