Jason Mashak

7 January 2011

Customer feedback (positive + 'negative' = positive)

Customer feedback, with other companies and industries I’ve worked in, had a tendency toward primarily negativity. There was very little balance – complaints greatly outweighed any occasional positive stories we would receive. In each case we would justify the imbalance with generalizations that “people love to complain” or “nobody has time to give positive feedback”… or the cynical “they probably just want a credit” (and, at least in American culture, the last one is unfortunately often the case, as it has become a norm there to take advantage of the adage “the customer is always right” to secure discounts, freebies, etc. – I know, because I myself have emailed restaurants after a bad experience, knowing I would likely receive a voucher along with the standard apology) .

Something is different, however, at AVAST. Sure, there’s still ‘negative’ feedback (see explanation below) that comes from offering any sort of product or service to a global market, but what’s different here is that we get so much positive feedback, as well. I’ve never seen anything like it (i.e., while working with, e.g., telecoms, security/surveillance, business services, or education industries). A naïve (utopian) counter-assumption to the above ‘reasons’ for an overabundance of negative feedback would be that this noteworthy influx of positive feedback at AVAST is the combined result of: 1) superior product; 2) people having more time to be positive; and 3) customers wanting to give something back.

Happy customers Earlier this week an email made the rounds here. It was from a government security technician at an embassy in a neighboring country, who told us:

I was running McAfee and not only did it let the virus in, it never found it despite repeated updates and scans. I searched their website and found that they would specifically connect to my PC and kill the virus which they had missed FOR $90! So I downloaded SpyBot which also failed to find it. The virus would not let Windows Defender run, and closed any browser which searched for Windows Defender. Then I downloaded your free anti virus and it found and killed it (mscj.exe as I recall).

That’s the type of feedback we get – regularly. At first, we thought about putting all of it on our website, in our Personal References section, but instead we present there a sampling, as nobody would have time or inclination to read them all.

'Negative' feedback As to ‘negative’ feedback, there are really two types, the 2nd one of which actually turns out to be positive – 1) something akin to scribbles on a bathroom wall and tells us no more than a general “you suck” (one suspects these could be a competitor taking a rather unproductive approach to PR); or 2) constructive feedback that helps us make our product better (this we like, as it helps us all – developers, QA, Virus Lab, marketing, and especially… the entire community of avast! users).

Contact options We offer contact channels at AVAST Software. On www.avast.com, we have a Contact Us page with multiple options. Additionally, we have our Support Center, User Forum, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. And we do try our best to monitor all communications and respond quickly to relevant issues – so if you can think of ideas that might make avast! products better, please let us know.

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