I work for a VMS Manufacturer (not Milestone) and there are number of ways that we receive and solicit Customer & Integrator feedback regarding performance enhancements for our product.
Let me preface this by saying that we are ALWAYS interested in what our Customer's and Integrators view as 'necessary functionality' for our produts and take ALL requests and suggestions to improve our product seriously. After all, if my product doesn't do what the Customer wants/needs, they are going to purchase my competitor's solution.
I will list them in no particular order:
1- During the sales cycle when we are engaged with a Customer/Integrator we occasionally receive requests for specific functions or features for our software (either because our competitor provides the feature or because the customer believes that it is an essential requirement for their system). These requests are reviewed against our Product Road Map and if they are not included on a future release, the requested function/feature is reviewed by our R&D/Engineering group and a decision is made to either develop the requirement or reject the request based on cost to develop or relevance to our solution as a whole.
2 - Post installation if a Customer has a suggestion regarding features/functions they can submit the request through the integrator or the sales rep for consideration by our R&D/Engineering group. The request is evaluated and a response provided.
3 - All of our Authorized integrators have the ability to submit a request to add a function/feature enhancement for consideration. Usually this is through their Factory Sales Rep.
4 - We hold an annual Users Group Conference where to which we invite all of our Customers and Integrators. At this event we host a Roundtable meeting for each group to expose them to future releases and solicit their feedback on improvements that can be made to our solution. The same R&D/Engineering review is applied to all suggestions.
5 - We participate in joint shows and marketing events with our Technical Partners (camera manufacturers, Access Manufacturers, ALPR Manufacturers, etc.) where we solicit requests for improvements to our software. These suggestions are compiled and reviewed by our R&D/Engineering group.
6 - We participate in many industry specific Trade Shows (ASIS, ISC West, APCO, etc.) and we are open to suggestions for additional functions/features to our system made by anyone that walks up on our booth. The same R&D/Engineering Review is applied to all suggestions.
7 - Anyone can call our 800 number, request to be transferred to Sales, and make a suggestion on a desired function/feature. This information is noted by our inside sales staff and provided to our R&D/Engineering group for review.
8 - Every year a senior management member from our R&D, Engineering and Customer Service Team are tasked with visiting our Top 10 Customers and Top 10 Integrators to specifically solicit information on improving our product. This provides our engineering and support staff a 1 on 1 dialogue with our largest Users gather their input on improving our product.
As you can see from the list above, my Company is ALWAYS seeking feedback for improvements to our solution to ensure that we have the latest/greatest technology available. Rogier is correct that my Company does not support a "Suggestion Box" on our web page but that is certainly something to consider. I'll have R&D/Engineering look into it... :)
I typically deal with anywhere from 1 or 2 suggestions a month to multiple suggestions a week. Not all of these suggestions make good business sense to develop. The decision to develop a requested function/feature is based on the following basic criteria; relevance, cost to develop, time to develop, resaleability and number of requests for similar functionality.
In Rogier's case I would suggest that he contact a representative for the product he has suggestions to improve and have a conversation about it. Everyone has a 'Contact Us' link on their web page.
In conclusion I will say that I am personally aware of at least three dozen functions/features that have been suggested to our R&D staff by Customers or Integrators that have in fact been developed and implemented within our system.
We listen! We cannot do it all but we do listen. I can't believe for one moment any of my competitors would ignore meaningful feedback from Rogier or anyone else with an opinion on improving their product.