The other day, I heard a comment from someone who had sent a suggestion to http://www.windowsserverfeedback.com and was astonished to receive a meaningful personal response within a couple of days. Of course, the fact that he was astonished says a lot about the lack of customer service that Microsoft customers have come to anticipate. But with the company's renewed focus on customer satisfaction, glimmers of hope are starting to appear. As Michael Dennis (lead program manager, Group Policy and Windows Update Services-WUS) said in the interview I conducted for the main article, "No longer is the feedback mechanism a black hole. The feedback gets reviewed, understood, digested-and I do take action. I provide information back to the people" who submit the suggestions.

Jackson Shaw (product manager, directory services) said, "If you have ideas about how something should be simplified or things we should be doing, the feedback site is a great mechanism to get to us because the product managers have access to that data and we look at it." Specifically with regard to Group Policy, Michael said, "What I can tell you is that we've worked with the feedback team in helping them understand what information we're looking for." Jackson added, "The overall goal is to have customers feel that they're more involved directly in solving the problem and to understand that we're hearing what their issues are."

Jackson pointed out that Michael has "personally responded to some Windows Server feedback directly. The approach to feedback is revolutionary." Michael said, "I've actually acted on several suggestions. The very first comment that was posted to that Web site before it was even officially announced (and it was a great suggestion) was key to some of the stuff that we're doing now." Jackson and Michael emphasized that feedback is affecting the direction of the product in a very real way.