How Azure Search thrives off of customer obsession

If you’re like most people, when you think of Microsoft you think of a massive, sprawling corporation that’s too big to fail. While that’s not wrong, the truth is that Microsoft has several small “start-ups” working inside of it, facing the hard choices and high risk that any small business would be faced with. One such group, profiled in a Microsoft News Center post, is Azure Search. The service became publicly available back during March.

The team’s story is relatively odd within the confines of Microsoft, as they took a different approach to building up their business. Namely, the Azure Search team is obsessed with thinking like their customers. In fact, they go about cold calling potential customers – something that most people would never imagine a Microsoft engineer doing. In fact, one of Azure Search’s top customers came from one of these cold calls, and he initially thought that a prank was being played on him.

Azure Search credits its tenacious advancement as a service to the fact that it simply had no choice. Indeed, Azure search views “scarcity as a virtue,” giving them “no choice but to focus on what really matters.” The reasoning behind this is that, without any time or people to spare, the team at Azure Search had no choice but to focus on what really mattered. Making constant contact with customers, being obsessed with the way that they think and making sure that they make the products that people want to buy.

With Azure Search becoming bigger by the day, they still haven’t forgot what’s made them successful: their unyielding effort to stay in touch with customer needs. “We could go off on our own and build a billion things,” Says Liam Cavanagh, veteran Microsoft engineer in the Azure search team. “Instead, we pick the right battles. We almost don’t do anything without first talking to customers.” The Azure search team is looking like a group that’s headed in the right direction, and with Azure looking for new employees, it may even be growing. Hopefully this love for customer satisfaction spreads throughout other departments of Microsoft.

 

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Do you think this obsession with customer needs is helpful?