When I worked at Xerox in the early 1990s, a great decade for Xerox, we were creating breakthrough new technologies for high-end print production systems.

Breakthrough products have problems.

One of the things Xerox did was reach out to friendly customers and ask them to be FOX (Friends of Xerox) as early adopter sites.

I remember standing with the owner of one of these print shops as his expensive Xerox machine was being torn apart and rebuilt on the floor.

He said “I am losing money every minute while this is being fixed.”

This was along with a long list of other complaints.

I asked, “Why are you a FOX Site?”

He answered, “I know that Xerox will take care of me.”

I personally learned a lot from those early complainers, or as we all prefer to call them, early adopters.

Xerox learned even more.  Xerox learned about how to make better machines, how to improve services and policies, learned how to manage the project better.

Xerox also learned how to take great care of the customers, especially those early adopters.

We took extra care to bring their systems up to our quality production standards.  We also featured them in many of the world-wide communications about our products.

The early complainers became our biggest advocates.

How are you handling your early complainers?