Twitter Shows the Value in Listening to Customers
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Henry Ford perhaps said it best: "It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages."
You'd think more companies would understand that, but, particularly with technology customers, there is a feeling that not only is the customer not always right, the customer is almost always wrong.
That's why it was so unusual to see Twitter move to aggressively to reverse a decision it made that ticked off its customers.
Twitter originally decided to allow users to view and interact with tweets from someone who blocked them. While those interractions were hidden, it still meant that trolls who were blocked could reach their targets.
That set off a bit of outrage on -- you guessed it! -- Twitter.
So Twitter decided to walk it back, reversing a policy it had instituted only hours before.
We're reverting the changes to block functionality. https://t.co/LOvip2QmLX— Safety (@safety) December 13, 2013
In a blog post, Twitter said it made the change "after receiving feedback from many users – we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe." The company also hinted it may make another change in the future.
Why is Twitter's move such a big deal? Well, for one thing, no company makes a change lightly. Time and effort went into deciding to change the block features in the first place. There was clearly a business reason for doing so. In short, Twitter felt changing the block features was important to do.
But it then decided the outrage from its customers outweighed its own thinking. It acted swiftly, communicated directly and moved on.
Think that's easy to do? Just Google the phrase "Facebook angers users" and see how often Facebook makes a change, then ignores feedback. Business leaders almost always think they are right, and what they lack in knowledge, they make up for in certainty.
So Twitter gets kudos today for listening, and for that rarest of impulses in Silicon Valley: humility.