At a summit recently for sales and marketing people in my company, the CEO discussed stuff we would do for customers, and stuff we wouldn't do.
We sell emergency patient care reporting software, and whilst each EMS agency has its different needs, we try to make the software as all-encompassing as possible. We'll do some custom work if it's necessary or not too out of our way, and we tend to release any one fix or patch originally for one customer out to the rest of the customer base as part of the support/maintenance contract. I imagine this is standard issue for most software companies.
What I liked most was that if there's a feature developed for one customer that could be used by other customers, we'll do our best to make it part of the product. It's simply being aware of the user base's needs - the people using the product are in the best position to tell us what should be done to improve it. Hence we have a User Group once a year for all the existing customers to get together not just to tell us what to do with our product, but to share with each other how they use the product in their own daily operations.
There is never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution, and any good company recognizes that immediately. (Which is why I hate pushy salespeople who don't know when to shut up and realize that the only reason I'm not buying this product is because I have no reason to.) But it behooves us all to get together and discuss, like rational people who want to share a good thing, how we make what we have work for ourselves. Doodad's method may not work perfectly for Widget's world, but Widget can still take some of what Doodad did, and vice versa.
Sharing is caring!
Would that our world leaders had the same sense. Of course, world peace is not a product that can be sold, nor improved upon, and it's sad that it's because we'd have to pay with monies that we'd discuss what could be more efficiently done to get our money's worth, not because it's a good thing to buy into such a line of thought.