Microsoft turns attention to customer satisfaction

There’s a lot of challanges to Microsoft’s growth. One huge threat is open source software. The other threat is Microsoft itself. You can only sell so much “stuff” and right now the market is pretty full of Microsoft stuff.
We all have Windows. But Microsoft’s problem is millions have Windows 98, millions have Windows 2000 and millions have NT but we all have not moved to Windows XP. The Office front is the same way. Sure many have upgraded to the latest versions but I’m sure not as much as Microsoft would like to see.

What can Microsoft do? One thing it is doing is focusing more on customer satisfaction. The Seattle-Post Intelligencer writes Executives at the level of vice president or above are required to manage some accounts personally. Kevin Johnson, in charge of Microsoft’s sales and marketing, handles, among others, Aichi, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp. Ballmer said in a May speech that he is responsible for Microsoft sales to the Department of Homeland Security.
The sales team has established several quick-access cash accounts, whose amounts Elliott didn’t disclose.
A “make it right” fund lets salespeople smooth over disputes without waiting for approvals from managers, she says.
Microsoft is trying to reach out to big and small customers alike. At the end of March, the company gave its 56,000 employees wallet-size cards to hand to anyone they met who was having difficulty with Microsoft software.
The orange Quick Assistance cards, bearing a toll-free phone number, are good for a free session on Microsoft’s support hot line. Normally, a call for help on Microsoft’s Windows XP for home computers would cost $35 after an initial two free calls.
Ayala, who now runs sales to businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, says he’s proud of Microsoft’s customer service effort. More needs to be done, he says.
“I don’t want to portray it as ‘We’ve figured it all out,’ ” Ayala says. “There’s still a lot of heavy lifting to go. But the most difficult thing to do in a company is changing the culture, and I think we are there now.”
Read the full article here.