Winning Customer Loyalty

From cars to tools, it’s important to know your customers are happy.

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On the day that the Tesla Model 3 was announced, we (and by we I mean my wife, who graciously dedicated her time) stood in line to order a car we had never seen. That is quite the sign of trust in a car company. Buying a car is the second biggest cost behind buying a house and yet there we were putting down $1,000 for a car we had never seen.

So what drove us and thousands of others – Tesla reported over 100,000 pre-orders when they showed the first prototypes and released some details of the car – to pre-order a car 1.5 years in advance when you can go to most dealerships and drive away with your new car without any wait time? Well, I don’t need a new car right now, so the wait time was not a deterrent. But still, it shows a trust and customer loyalty to a specific brand. When companies succeed in having their customers wait in line to buy or pre-order a new car or a new phone, it indicates that they created a product that transcends the pure functional value and emotionally binds customers to their products.

And this type of customer loyalty is not exclusive to consumer products. I see similar customer loyalty for business applications. When the success of your job depends on the capabilities of the tools or hardware you use daily, you become invested in helping make those tools or that hardware successful. Which explains why engineers speak openly at conferences about how they applied a tool or methodology as part of their design process, even though they are basically explaining this not only to their colleagues, but also to their competitors.

As engineers, we realize that there is value in ensuring that a particular tool or hardware becomes successful, as this usually translates to more investment, resulting in an even better product over time.

I see this happening in particular with FPGA-based prototyping. Over the past couple of years, the overall software content in SoC designs has outgrown typical methodologies for software bring-up and physical prototyping (as FPGA-based prototyping is also referred to), has become a standard method for starting software development earlier and testing complex hardware – software dependencies. With the explosion of software content, commercial physical prototyping products have seen increased adoption and as a result investment in these products has grown.

As physical prototyping became indispensable to the software development, hardware/software integration and system validation of many electronics products in mobile, automotive, enterprise and other vertical markets, its users have become more vocal about how they are using these tools and their associated benefits. The growing amount of FPGA-based prototyping user presentations at popular EDA industry events like DAC (Design Automation Conference), SNUG (Synopsys User Group) and ARM TechCon are another indication of the adoption and trust in these solutions.

While you won’t see people physically waiting in line to pre-order their next physical prototyping system, you will see designers flying for many hours to present at a conference and talk about the benefits, which displays immense commitment and loyalty to the solution. With this blog I want to thank all the loyal users, especially those who present their experiences at public events. It is great to be part of a product line that is making an impact, while also delivering on our responsibility to continue earning customer trust and loyalty.