What I do at Microsoft: It’s all about the customer

I was asked yesterday, “what the heck do you do at Microsoft these days?” That was a follow up to a friend seeing a post in Computerworld that I’d missed, which was interesting as I was calling out the importance of numbers in names… as I have one in mine (hence the emoticon, which Gregg Keizer neglected to note in his post).

But back to what I do.

As I wrote here, many people in our offices focus on the work to make and keep customer satisfaction a top priority, especially important now more than ever. That’s a positive. Steve Ballmer said previously that Microsoft has more work to do to please our customers and partners, noting that “we’ve only begun to tap the real potential of computers to help you communicate, find answers, solve problems and be more productive.”

At Microsoft, I have the privilege to coordinate and support the work our product and services teams do (our business groups, aka BGs) as they focus on improving satisfaction with our customers and partners. We call this “CPE” at the company, and you can read a little more about it here.

Along with a small group focused on the BGs, and with a great team of people in our worldwide Sales & Marketing team, we help frame and prioritize issues, make connections across teams (challenging when you have as many people around the world as we do, serving so many customers) and improve upon the customer’s experience with Microsoft. This isn’t done in a vacuum, and I get to work with our talented and dedicated product and services teams to provide guidance and work with teams when needed, and sometimes actively engaging on issues. For me, that includes evangelizing best practices, identifying and resolving broad issues, and working on broad, cross company efforts (most often technical in nature, as I’ve documented on this blog).

In short, rule #1 about my job in CPE is about making our customers happy, and for ones that are happy, keeping them happy. For ones who run into an issue or have a problem with products and services, it’s about referring to rule #1 and working with teams to make them happy.

As I wrote here, fools may find fault with ease. It takes the persistent to note that the customer experience isn’t a commodity, and to course correct when we find fault…

Benjamin Franklin and Dale Carnegie both said that “any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.” But if you listen to the criticism and respond to it — take the criticism and do something positive with it — then you can course correct and improve the customer experience.

With that, I’m off to course correct. And offer some advice.

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