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The importance of customer feedback


One thing that is very important to us as a company and to our product development process is the feedback we receive from customers. It tells us if we are doing the right things and moving in the right direction with our products and it tells us where we need to make improvements. We provide several avenues for you to do this such as calling in, sending an email through our feedback form on the Aspen website, visiting with us at trade shows and demo events at your local airport. I’ve also received some feedback through this blog, which you can see in the comments. The Customer Gallery is yet another avenue for you as a customer to provide your insight on being an Aspen customer.

I can tell you that we do listen. Here’s what happens to your feedback: When you call or send an email with a comment or suggestion, that information goes directly to our product marketing and product development team. Each and every request is evaluated against all the others and in relation to overall product development schedules. Based on resources and overall development plans, the requests are ranked and grouped and then placed into release schedules as appropriate. I’m certain you can understand it is not always possible to fit every request into the scheduled releases, but we try!

Receiving feedback from customers also presents the opportunity to communicate back to all customers with helpful information. Responding to feedback from one customer can be a great way to educate many others. This blog entry is inspired by this very thing. We received some comments from a customer who recently submitted his aircraft to our Customer Gallery (http://www.aspenavionics.com/index.php/customergallery/n326dp/). I’d like to take the opportunity to share my response to him so that you may learn from it as well.

Here’s what David had to say:

“Selecting charts is not intuitive, at least to me. I’m sure there will be improvements but the pilot-ASPEN interface needs some improvement. My biggest gripe is the color selection when inputting a new airport identifier to call up its charts. The color (cyan or whatever) is nearly impossible to see and when rotating the left knob to change the letter it is strictly a gamble if you get the correct letter. Also, when can’t you back step to the previous letter position if you make an error? And why isn’t some automation involved, automatically display the departure airport until airborne, then switch to the destination airport, or the next flight plan waypoint if it’s an airport?”

One of the things we did when we designed the Evolution System was to try to give the pilot more than one way to access information, including a couple of different ways to directly access information from the map.  When it comes to charts, I personally find it easiest to access charts using the map interface, rather than entering the text airport identifier. On the ground at my departure airport I’ll use the map INFO function to highlight the departure airport, and then select the charts Hotkey to take me directly to the charts for that airport. Once on the chart page, rotating the right knob lets me quickly get to the chart I want.

In the air, I’ll do the same thing to look at charts for nearby airports, or I’ll pan ahead to my destination and select the destination airport charts.  I don’t find myself using the text entry unless I’m looking for information for an airport that is well away from where I am, or my current route.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please keep the feedback coming—It is invaluable!

-John

Categories: Company
  1. s y
    February 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Customer feedback has always been tough. So many customers will not say a word if they are happy with the service or product even though some mild criticism might help you improve an already decent product. Looks like you have streamlined the customer feedback loop!

  2. Jeffrey Muller
    April 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I have been keeping a close eye on your synthetic vision announcements, one thing that I see missing from all the demos is a flight path indicator (FPI). Please tell me that it will be there when the upgrade is released? The FPI is so valuable when making approaches with ever changing crosswinds. Basically fly the circle on the runway. Also do you have any type of Highway in the sky planned? Thank you for your time
    -jeff

  3. April 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Jeff, thanks for your question. The Synthetic Vision implementation that Aspen is using will include a Flight Path Vector (FPI). Unfortunately the demo that you saw was one of the earlier demos that did not show it. We view this as a critical element of our implementation. It should be noted that we at this time we will not be implementing a Highway in the Sky function.

    We are very excited about the synthetic vision release. The function will be available not only on the PFD but also on the MFD providing multiple ways to use Synthetic Vision. I have had the chance to fly it myself and I expect that our customers will be very impressed with the function.

  4. Todd Knowles
    May 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    John,
    It’s nice that you were able to educate a customer on another way of accessing charts but what about his comments? They sound pretty valid. As advanced as the rest of the system is, it sounds like the airport identifier means of accessing charts didn’t get much attention- it barely works. Why not bring it up to the ‘Aspen level’ of usability & quality? I don’t have the MFD yet but I’ll be getting one & I might prefer to dial in an identifier instead of jumping around the map.

    Synthetic vision. I absolutely can’t wait! When is the estimated ship date?
    Highway in the sky? I would never, never use that. It’s a gimmick. I’m glad you’re skipping it.

  5. May 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    The airport identifier feature has been a source of a lot of customer feedback since introduced. I am happy to say that we are updating many parts of this function that greatly enhance its capabilities.

    We are changing the color of the background to black for airport identifier selection to make it easier to read. In addition, we will add a feature that will allow you configure the system to automatically select the origin airport charts as the displayed chart before takeoff. We are also adding the capability to select the departure or destination airport charts through a line select key so you can select the destination airport charts quickly when appropriate.

    Finally we are adding a nearest button that will provide the charts for the nearest airport that has an approach. This will be part of our software version 2.3 release coming in June and I think everyone will see these changes as a major improvement to the charts function making it a lot easier to use.

    I am glad to hear you are going to install an MFD. I have over 175 hours using my 3 tube Aspen system and the flexibility, geo-referenced airport diagrams and charts, and situational awareness that the MFDd give is incredible. They also provide me with the peace of mind and confidence that I will have the necessary redundant instrumentation should anything happen.

    I have had the chance to fly the synthetic vision and it is amazing. I had never really flown synthetic vision so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after flying it I will say that it is an incredible enhancement to situational awareness. I fly in a lot of mountain terrain and it gives me a level of perspective that is very useful. In addition, our implementation provides a lot of different options for display on both the PFD and MFD, another reason to get the MFD installed.

    My next blog entry will go into details on our synthetic vision as we near release which we expect before Oshkosh. Thanks for your comments and questions.

  6. Todd Knowles
    June 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Super response to my post. I’m so glad to hear Aspen is being so responsive to customer feedback.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Jamie Mitchell
    July 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Just had an PFD 1000 and GTN 750 installed in my Seneca V to replace a Sandel 3500 and GNS 530. There were numerous incompatibilities between Apsen, Garmin and the S-Tec55x that the installation shop had to work around. After weeks of work, most have been resolved to acceptable, but no great, levels. However, I a disappointed that the Aspen will not display the flight director without sending the annunciator back to S-Tec for a $2,000 + labor upgrade. Had I know, I would have kept the my old setup. Also, the map data on the HSI is very primitive and limited compared to the Sandel. The PFD 1000 does not display any special airspace, (B, C, D, MOA’s, etc), and requires an expensive key to display traffic, which is included on the Sandel. For $12,000, I don’t expect to be nickeled and dimed in order to have a fully functioning EHSI and AI.

  8. July 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    First off I would like to thank you for your business. I apologize for taking so much time to respond but I wanted to talk with my field engineers to better understand the circumstances that you refer to. Every installation has its unique challenges. Installations require planning, oversight and an understanding of what the equipment will and will not do. In order to address your specific installation I recommend that you remain in contact with your shop and Aspen field engineering (Contact M. Ferrari VP Sales and Customer Support @ 918-459-4520) to make sure everyone understands the issues and things are fully rectified.

    Addressing your concerns on a broader scope, virtually all modern avionics have hardware and software options and capabilities that are priced separately. As a manufacturer, this allows us to scale our product lines so we can offer the market a broad range of capabilities and price points that meet the needs and budgets of our customers. We could certainly include every feature and function we offer as “standard”, but doing so would drive the price higher and give our customers less choice and flexibility.

    For example, our Evolution 1000 PFD offers a basic stick map, and also shows nearby airports and navaids. This basic map comes without additional charge on all versions of the Evolution PFD. There are no additional database costs for the maps since it uses data available from the connected GPS to create the map. However, this map can only show the information provided by that connected GPS. For Aspen customers who want a full featured navigation map including airspace, airways, airports, navaids and topography display, we offer two affordable MFD choices to nicely complement the very capable Evolution 1000 PFD.

    Prior to and during an installation it is important to sit with the dealer to understand your configuration and what needs to be modified to incorporate the Aspen or any new avionics. During the installation, work with the dealer to monitor the shop’s progress. In both cases, encourage the dealer to seek help from us, the manufacturer. Aspen has invested heavily in a robust Customer Support and Field Service Engineering organization for just these types of occasions. This support service is available at no charge to our dealers, which helps to keep your final installed cost down. I understand that your dealer was able to take advantage of this free support service, and that our experts were able to quickly help him correct the installation configuration errors in your newly installed equipment, thereby enabling these devices to talk to one another and for the installation to progress.

    We openly encourage our customers to reach out, as you have done, and let us know how we are doing, good, bad or indifferent. While I understand that you have some frustrations with the process, I hope that you will find enjoyment in the use of your Aspen equipment and come to see the value and functionality that the system brings to your airplane.

  9. Dave Probst
    August 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    My name is Dave P. I am in the planning stages of a major panel upgrade of a T 210 i am purchasing. My home airport if falcon field Mesa AZ. I’ve been talking with Ivan at valley Avionics and am 90 % sure i’ll be putting in aspen. I would love to meet the Aspen rep. for this area to discuss this project.

  10. August 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Dave, thanks for your note. I passed along your name to Anson Gray who is our sales manager responsible for your area. He actually lives in Phoenix. Hopefully he has already contacted you. If not, please feel free to call into Aspen directly and ask for Kyle Williams, our inside sales person, who will make sure you get taken care of.

  11. May 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Hi, always i used to check blog posts here early in the morning, because i love to find out more and
    more.

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