This morning, Sonos impressed me once again. Shortly after I posted my review of the Sonos system, I was contacted via email by one of their support personnel, and another Sonos person left a comment in my blog explaining to me how to solve the problem I was encountering with linking zones together during playback.
It turns out that Sonos handles the linking of zones as one would hope (without interrupting playback), but that I was simply getting confused about the subject vs. the object, i.e. which zone was linking to which. I was linking the playing zone to the non-playing zone, hence the resulting silence. So the functionality was there, but the UI was (to me) unclear and I assumed the opposite result would occur. More than one person who tried to do this on my system made the same mistake, so I think they need to tweak the UI a bit or at least warn the user when the result of linking zones is going to be silence, but this is admittedly a nit that could be easily fixed in a future software update.
But the more impressive fact here is that Sonos is being very smart about listening to their customers by monitoring the blogosphere for mentions of their product. Being responsive to users who take the time to write about their product builds customer loyalty and buzz in a way that nothing else can. Kudos to Sonos for being on top of this.
As an investor in and avid user of Technorati, I use Technorati’s watchlists to monitor mentions of each of my portfolio companies out in the blogosphere. Another one of my investments, Sling Media, maker of the Slingbox, has been particularly adept at using Technorati as a tool to listen to their users and respond to satisfaction and displeasure brewing out in the wild. At present, it is only the clueful and forward-thinking companies who are doing this, and they are reaping the rewards and using it to their advantage. In the very-near future, companies that do not listen closely to what’s happening out in the blogosphere will do so at their own peril.