I remember the statement made by the president of a software company vendor of mine in a meeting some years ago as if it were yesterday. The comment, made to a salesperson of his also in the meeting, was this — “See, it’s all about managing expectations. We have to do a better job of managing expectations.” This was his whispered response to the “complaints” he was hearing from us, his customer, about our (I’ll be nice ), disappointment with the software quality and performance.
In a similar vein I also remember being in a meeting with our previous software vendor where, trying to make light of our “concerns” with the ever increasing software support fees which we saw as getting us nothing, this president quipped jokingly “…gotta keep up our cash flow you know!” That statement was the opening of the exit door for that software and vendor — never forgotten by our company — and referenced many times over as the years went on.
While I don’t mean to suggest that either of these comments represent major attitudes of an application vendor to their customers, the examples above do point to an important attitude that (I believe) applications vendors “should” have — and that is “listening” to their customers expectations and really “hearing” how their software is, or is not, meeting the customer expectations. I’ve blogged in the past about “hearing” in my post “Please Hear What I Really Need“. This kind of active listening goes a long way toward managing software application expectations. I highly recommend it!