Kudos to Gazelle for keeping their focus on loyal customers!

As consumers, we've all been impacted by good and bad product management decisions.  Most of the time, I focus on my bad experiences aiming to help people fix the problems I've encountered.  I'd like to share one of the good things that's happened to me recently that got me thinking!

The new iPhone is coming out (iPhone 5) which means that I will be shelling out almost a thousand dollars to buy the new one.  No, I'm not eligible for an upgrade because I bought the iPhone 4s, and Yes, I am "one of those people" who buy everything that Apple makes.  While I could comment on Apple's phenomenal product management and marketing, that's not the point.  A new iPhone means I'll need to sell my current iPhone, and I've gone through this process for the last few years.  I've used Gazelle, a local company in Boston that buys your old electronics.  If you have anything you need to sell, my experience with Gazelle has been pretty good so far, so I recommend them!

Every time I think Apple is going to make an announcement, I put in a quote request at Gazelle.  It has worked out that I've managed to get the maximum return for all of my electronics, simply because of timing (and the fact that I take VERY good care of my electronics).    This year, I sent my request to Gazelle in August and they have changed their policies- for the better!  Luckily for me, they're going to honor my quote past the 30 days they typically offer.  Not only that, but because of the delay in shipping from Apple (even though I ordered at 5am EST), they're giving me until October 10.

Why does this matter?  Because as a loyal Gazelle and iPhone customer I want to buy new products and sell my old ones while spending the least and saving the most.  Gazelle has finally figured out a way to 'crack the code' and I commend them on listening to their customers.  These are the people that keep them in business and recommend them to their friends.

As product managers we forget that making a 10 day adjustment to a policy or letting our customers return anything at any time (aka Nordstrom) could have a huge impact to our customers.  We forget to keep our customers at the focus of our innovations and that's when products fail.  Forget about the shiny new feature, or the cool thing your development team says they can do - focus on your customers and what they want.  Listen to what they're saying so you can create products they love.

Have you forgotten your customers?  What are some of your success stories for customer engagement and retention?  Has focusing on your customers ever backfired?

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