Foreword for E-Volve-or-Die.com
September 5, 2000
Jim Sterne, President, Target Marketing
asked for examples of truly great customer service, one of my seminar attendees
told the story of a recent visit to Amazon.com. He recounted how easy it was to
find the book he wanted... how easy it was to make the purchase... how delighted
he was when the item actually showed up on his doorstep the very next day. Another
participant pointed out how sad it was that he was delighted because a company
he was doing business with made a promise and actually stuck with it. The rest
of us chucked, but then realized our level of expectation in most stores is rather
low. Our online expectations are considerably higher.
been thinking about and working on your Web site and Internet integration for
years, but don't expect to see the end of the tunnel any time soon. The competitive
landscape continues to change at a dizzying pace. E-Volve-or-Die.com gives you
a current bird's-eye-view of the lay of the land - something you are going to
need to keep up with customer expectations.
your customers no longer rests in their willingness to stay with you out of blind
loyalty or inertia. Consumers and business buyers are becoming more and more sophisticated
and getting used to better and better service. People are expecting instant access
- Product information
- Specific account
Customers know that
you keep information about them in computers. The expectation is your computers
can talk to each other and customers can access every bit of account information.
- What was the last order I placed?
it shipped yet?
- When will it be delivered?
will my backorder be filled?
- Are there
any alternative products I can get faster?
continue to rise dramatically. If you have a real-time database with all that
information in it, customers expect you to have a Web server capable of fetching
that information and dynamically delivering it at the click of a mouse.
- Who is my sales rep?
much have I ordered in the past six months?
will I hit the next discount level?
many frequent flier miles do I have?
will I need my next tune-up?
will my membership expire?
- Who is
authorized to place an order over $5,000?
is my current credit aging?
do you mean I can't find out on your Web site? What do you mean you haven't linked
your Web site to your back-end corporate datacenter? I can get that information
24 hours a day, seven days a week from your competitor...
Eight: New Expectations for Customer Service zeros in on this Customer Expectation
Inflation and how online customer service has moved from a unique, new feature
to a competitive necessity. Learn what you need to do within your company change
manage new customers expectations and evolve your company.
October, 1998, Ford Motor Company put out a memo to its suppliers that was pure
Back-to-the-Future. Allow them to buy supplies and raw materials over the Internet
by June 1999, said the memo, or they would take their business elsewhere. Companies
like Snap-On, the makers of high-end hand and power tools woke up and smelled
more than 10% of their income at risk. It was time to move from curious to serious
about the Web.
Making your company easier
to do business with is today's great competitive edge. Customers expect the best
price. They expect fast service. They expect to get answers instead of being put
on hold until dawn. They will flock to buy from you if you can save them ten minutes
here, and twenty minutes there.
moment to look at your competitors' efforts on the Web. Take a moment every week.
It's the only way you're going to stay ahead of the game. What can you offer than
your competitors cannot? If you can't improve your products any more and you can't
lower your price anymore--you can only improve your service.
do your customers need service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? Because
that's when they're working. Engineers, operations managers, human resource workers,
marketing executives and others have always burned the midnight oil to finish
projects. More and more virtual corporation partners are working at home and getting
on-line after the kids are asleep. These people need answers at all hours, not
just nine to five and certainly not just in your time zone.
customer service always means looking at your products, your company, and your
customer service methods through your customers' eyes. The customer doesn't care
if your company is organized by product line, business unit or spheres of political
influence. The customer wants his or her question answered or problem solved,
and solved now.
The most important task
for a customer service Web builder to undertake is figuring out what the customer
will want to see, want to learn, and want to get out of the experience **every
time they contact your company**.
Four: Customer Touch Points, offers insight into capturing the attention of your
customers and walks through the five phases of customer/company interaction. Customers
are starting to get accustomed to CRM (customer relationship management) and are
expecting you to provide more and more and better and better service. Whether
you outsource the touch point, you can't lose control of your customer interactions.
How do you continue to cater to customers on an
ongoing basis? It may be well worth the effort to ask them directly, "As you do
business with us via our Web site, what additional information would you like
us to show? What functionality would you like us to add?"
your and your competitor's Internet integration continues, your customers are
going to have higher and higher expectations. You'll need to stay one step ahead
of them. You need to E-Volve-or-Die.