Connecting with Customers: Additional Resources
Published: October 2, 2002
Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. A key part of delivering on our mission is achieving a broad customer connection: understanding customers’ needs and how they use our technology, and providing value through information and support. Read more about Microsoft’s mission and values.
Our efforts to connect with customers take many forms. Several of them are described below, with links to more information and ways that you can connect with us. We hope you will!
Microsoft Error Reporting
In a letter to customers, CEO Steve Ballmer highlights an innovative new way that Microsoft enables users of our software to easily report problems they encounter. This error-reporting feature, now included in Windows XP, Office XP and most of our other major products, has already helped us to accelerate the elimination of bugs in our software and in third-party software written for our platform.
Some of the most significant enhancements resulting from Microsoft Error Reporting are available today in Office XP.
Customers might wonder about the privacy implications of software that “phones home” to report problems. The error-reporting feature does not involve the use any information that could identify a particular individual or computer. Read about our data collection policy and how error reports are used.
More Ways to Send Feedback
You don’t have to wait until you encounter an error to send us feedback, or be limited by the information the error-reporting feature can collect. Tell us what you think about our products, Web sites or services using this online form. We value your feedback and use it to provide better services and products for our customers. Feedback can include comments about a support experience, improvements to Product Support Services, and comments about Help and Support online.
Alternatively, you may send us a product suggestion or feature request. Product enhancement suggestions can include improvements to existing products, suggestions for additional features, or ways to make our products easier to use.
Customer Experience Improvement Program
Millions of customers are effortlessly helping us improve our software through their participation in Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program, one of our newest product feedback tools. It is integrated into the latest version of MSN Explorer and will be part of other products in the future. Customers choose during software setup whether to participate by allowing Microsoft to collect small pieces of anonymous information about how the software is performing for them while they are using it. This data helps Microsoft developers to detect and correct not only bugs but also delays, hardware conflicts, and features that may be difficult to use. Any information shared is completely anonymous.
Consistent and Predictable Support Lifecycle Policy
A new support lifecycle policy is designed to standardize support guidelines across product lines and will cover most products currently available via retail purchase or volume licensing and future release products. Find more information at the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site.
Microsoft has been working hard to stay connected with customers by simplifying and even automating the process of keeping software current with the latest security features and other critical updates. Several security management solutions are available.
For individual PC owners and some small businesses, Windows Update and Office Update are the online extensions of Windows and Office that help keep computers up-to-date. Use Windows Update and Office Update to choose updates for your computer’s operating system, software and hardware. New content is added to the sites regularly, so you can always get the most recent updates and fixes to protect your computer and keep it running smoothly. Update your Windows operating system, read more about Office Update, or update your Office software.
For updating systems inside a corporate firewall, Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) is designed to greatly simplify the process. SUS enables administrators to quickly and reliably deploy critical updates to their Windows 2000-based servers, as well as to desktop computers running Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional.
Enterprises with many systems to manage will want to explore Microsoft Systems Management Server, with its full set of tools for software distribution, asset management and remote troubleshooting.
Unsure which software update solution is right for you? Go here for help in choosing.
Your Guide to Microsoft Customer Service
We offer customers many ways to obtain help in getting the most out of our products, and you can easily find the majority of them from one site. Make it one of your favorites. View product information, site maps and indexes, browse FAQs and technical how to's, find product and service policies, and search Microsoft sites. Find out how to buy a product, subscribe to a program or online service, purchase support, or participate in an event or training course.
Microsoft Help and Support
Search our database of more than 250,000 support articles created by Microsoft Support professionals. Find software updates, service packs, patches, device drivers and downloadable Microsoft products. Get support information by product, including common issues, frequently asked questions, instructions and latest downloads.
The Community Connection
Join, share and learn from Microsoft Communities. The communities provide a variety of resources including Tips and Tricks, chats, newsgroups, featured downloads and more. Gain from valuable peer-to-peer support relationships and learn more about our MVPs, who provide real-time customer guidance and feedback based on their daily involvement with Microsoft customers and products.
Software developers and others who are technically oriented can find a wealth of helpful information, tools and community wisdom from MSDN, the Microsoft Developer Network. Also, Microsoft TechNet provides IT professionals with many technical resources and help for planning, deploying, managing and supporting Microsoft software and technologies.