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Monday, December 9, 2002

Benefit Talk near Portland, OR, December 17

On Tuesday, December 17, I'll be joining two other noted consultants in the
Portland area, Karl Wiegers and Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, in a software
engineering benefit for Norm Kerth. You can read all about the event at
http://cpd.ogi.edu/class.asp?n=03-CPD-1217

The cause is a very good one, and the talks promise to be top-notch, so I
hope you'll attend. Here's a description of the topic I'll be addressing:

NOTHING WORKS AND NOBODY CARES

Every industry falls short of the mark from time to time, but in the PC
industry, horrific customer experiences are endemic. At least that's been
Scott's experience. Marketing materials are misleading, documentation
lies, products don't work, and customer support is variously incompetent,
condescending, surly, or nonexistent. In other words, nothing works and
nobody cares.

In this talk, Scott summarizes some of his experiences with products from
several major hardware and/or software vendors, demonstrating how each
often conveys a message to prospective and current customers that
satisfaction, far from being a goal, isn't even on the radar screen. He
also offers practical suggestions for improving the situation, starting
with a radical idea: when a customer complains that your product fails to
live up to his or her expectations, (1) say you're sorry and (2) mean it.

Ambitious attendees may wish to perform a simple experiment before the
talk: choose two or three products you use regularly, then, using the
product documentation, determine how users are supposed to report bugs.

Scott

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