Customer feedback and humble entrepreneurial pie

We've been getting a lot of customer feedback in response to Judy's Book evolution.  This post should give you insight into some of the dialogues that I've been having lately.  This feedback is not positive -- it's hard for an entrepreneur to hear this about their company. Especially when the customer is right and reasonable. That said, this feedback is critical to hearing AND responding points out the areas in your company that are weak. 

All in all, this correspondence is a healthy piece of humble entrepreneurial pie.

This is a post from a Judy's Book customer on my investors blog (BRAD FELD)

I have to say that I am disappointed with Judy's Book's new focus on deals/shopping. I see that it is probably easier to monetize a deals site than a review site, but I hoped that JB would 1) resolve problems with the reviews (which I mentioned in a previous comment on this blog, and still do not appear to be resolved) before expanding their focus, 2) that deals would be integrated with reviews (i.e., when I am reading a review of Company X, deals for Company X are also displayed) rather than creating a completely separate section, and 3) that Judy's Book would improve their response time on emails and "feedback" messages from "never" to something more reasonable (perhaps an automated acknowledgement sent immediately and follow-up from a real person within 2 business days - is that really too much to ask?).

On a related note, as a JB user I was recently interviewed by a JB staffer about the new deals portion of the site. As a "thank you" they sent me a T-shirt, but they sent it two sizes too small. What would have been a nice gesture ended up irritating me and wasting their postage. It would have been better if they had just sent a note.

Get good at what you already do before you expand.

This is my response to the customer

Thanks for taking the time and care to provide feedback.   I'd like to take a moment to respond to your 4 comments:

i) You are right. As a company, we've had a bigger appetite for feature and scope than what we've been able to digest in terms of delivering users a quality user experience. I am aware of this fact and it is a flaw in our culture that I am working hard to correct.  You are right to point it out -- as has my lead investor Brad Feld -- and all I can say is that I acknowledge the weakness and I hope that what we put out in the future is an improvement.

ii) A follow up to your point above, we are working on creating a higher quality integrated user experience for Judy's Book users. This will take a few months of work -- and will be iterative in nature. As you may know, we're working hard on evolving Judy's Book into a place for smart shoppers.

iii) Timely response to customer service requests is a fair and reasonable expectation (period).  Servicing a large community site with such a small organization is a challenging task -- but not responding is unacceptable.

iv) Your t-shirt : Simply, this was a well intentioned error.  Please tell me the correct size so that we can get you the right size shirt.

I'm sorry if you're experience has been sub-optimal ....we're working hard to improve the experience and provide more value to our customers.

Andy Sack