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In just over two years, Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program has now reached more than 10 million members courtesy of its fan-centric culture. The public Windows testing group was born in October 2014 along with the first public Windows 10 Technical Preview. Two months later, the Insider Program reached 1.5 million members, marking a solid start for the initiative.
Windows Insiders provide Microsoft feedback about the new features the software giant develops for its operating system. The program’s main goal is to keep bugs at bay before the general release of updates.
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said in a blog post on LinkedIn:
We count over 10M Windows Insiders today, many of them fans, who test and use the latest build of Windows 10 on a daily basis. Their feedback comes fast and furious, they have a relentless bar of what they expect, but it so inspires our team and drives our very focus on a daily basis.
Mehdi also discussed Microsoft’s efforts to create a “fan-centric culture”:
My learning is that you cannot create fans, you have to earn them. As our team has embarked on the journey to build a fan-centric culture at Microsoft, I have learned so much about how to focus our efforts. There are four things things, that while simple and maybe obvious, make all the difference.
He also touts the Windows Insider program as exemplifying Microsoft’s ability to develop a connection with clients, all of whom are now a critical part of Microsoft’s product development initiatives:
Many companies treat the initial transaction with the customer as the most important part of the journey. Any fan-centric company should treat that as just the starting point. In fact, every interaction with the customer after that is more important and should build a deeper relationship. Customers should feel like they have joined a community – a family. Don’t be a faceless company. Enable your fans to interact with real people at your company, people who are fans themselves. This requires real commitment, time and effort. A fan is not only going to tell you what they think, but they are going to expect to hear back, to see you take action on their feedback.
Through the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft has improved the way it listens to customers. The program also proves its significant impact on Microsoft’s operations.