« 9 Ways to Improve Customer Retention In A Tight Marketplace | Main | Handle Leading Employees Different From Leading Customers »

On-line Or Off, Simplify Standard Customer Related Processes

Buying Something Can Be Really Difficult. We are only "two percent" of the way into what the Internet has in store for us and each day I get another confirmation of this. [...] However, the major challenge remains fulfilling the promise of e-business -- and in ways that can simplify our lives. [John R Patrick: e-Business]

John Patrick brings up some good points about on-line and offline integration, plus key points on customer service. If you want to establish a relationship with your buyers, you have to make everything they want to do easy.

At least provide consistency in how they order, get support, and receive products. It shouldn't matter if they ordered on-line or offline, it should be easy for the customer to get information about order status. This means in your back end all the data is integrated into a single system.

Right now I know of companies who have a separate system for on-line orders with credit card, vs on-line orders with invoicing, and offline orders per any method. I'm constantly pushing for CRM to be your central repository for customer related commerce information. (See: Enhancing Customer Information To Improve CRM Return and Ways to Leverage Internal Partnerships to Improve the Customer Experience both available to members.)

How easy do you make it for a customer to order? When was the last time you tested this with prospects who have never experienced your company? What solutions do customers have to improve these processes?

Ideally your order process should be easily diagrammed on a single sheet of standard sized paper. Yes, you should be able to produce a simple flowchart truly representing your whole system. It doesn't have to go into every detail but will serve as a map for measuring efficiency of process.

Often I hear the excuse that on-line is different than offline -- If it's hard to buy what you sell on-line, it's probably hard to buy it offline -- so most prospective customers don't bother. When you make it easy the thin lines of channel disappear and you get the friction free commerce end-users desire.

In the business-to-business world we can afford to invest in simplifying the buying process, start with the customers perspective and invest in systems that support that function.

/ customer-service | interaction-points /

By Justin Hitt at June 19, 2003 3:22 PM  Subscribe in a reader


Home | Featured Articles | Glossary of Terms | Subject Index | Site Map | Editorial Calendar | About us | Contact us

Center for Strategic Relations, Dept IUN,
1123 Spruce St #3123, Martinsville, VA 24115-3123

24-Hour Phone/Fax Hotline: +1 (877) 207-3798

© 2001-2023 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Sitemap.