E-Customer: Customers Just Got Faster and Smarter - Catch Up

E-Customer: Customers Just Got Faster and Smarter - Catch Up

by Max McKeown

Paperback

$30.00

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780273650201
Publisher: Pearson Professional Education
Publication date: 12/30/2000
Series: FT Series
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.71(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Max McKeown is Founder and Chairman of Maverick & Strong, a Web consultancy thatspecializes in rebuilding organizations around their customers. He began his customer contact apprenticeship with First Direct, pioneers in telephone banking; developed leading-edge e-Solutions with the innovative AIT software firm; and helped found the CRM group within CMG, Europe's largest systems integrator. He is currently a strategic advisor for a number of global e-business ventures

Read an Excerpt

The Situation

It's the customer, stupid

The stress of millennium life in the economic first world comes not from too little but from too much. It is the blessing and curse of our generation. We have to work harder so that we can afford to play harder because we desire the lifestyles that Hollywood promises.

The need to put in more effort to enjoy more leisure is at the heart of the e-customer profile. But despite what has become the `cash rich, time poor' cliche, the e-customer is still more often offered the chance to `save money' with internet companies than the chance to `save time' or `improve your lifestyle'.

Companies witlessly rush to market with offerings that do not consider the demands and requirements of their e-customers. They put forward services that seem to judge the e-customer to be an unthinking consumer - an undiscerning diner, a muncher of mediocre meals.

Is the e-customer ready simply to eat what is laid out before him? Not at all certain. He does not have an automatic appetite. The gadget junkies will keep buying, unable (and unwilling) to stop. The stuff is enough for them. It doesn't necessarily have to deliver better lives, it just has to look pretty and have flashing lights in all the right places.

The much tougher group is the wider population of potential and actual e-customers. Some of them don't always see the point at all. Others want to have the advantages made clear and unambiguous. They both need to be enticed in, educated. And most of all they want services that really deliver.

Services that deliver. Deliver what? What the e-customer appreciates. What he wants to pay for. Not just a simple set of objective improvements,but stuff that speaks his language, pushes his buttons, clicks with his karma and, most importantly, fits in with his priorities.

And what are these priorities? Just listen to the experience of self-titled `personal coach' Cheryl Richardson. She has created a new profession out of simply helping the e-customer to make better decisions about their over-busy lives.

MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF THE FAST-PACED, FRENZIED 'INFORMATION AGE' AND ARE INTERESTED IN HIGHER-QUALITY LIVES - LIVES IN WHICH THEY HAVE MORE TIME FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS, MORE ENERGY TO INVEST IN THEIR EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, AND SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING. WHETHER YOU'RE A CORPORATE EXECUTIVE WORKING 60 HOURS A WEEK, A SINGLE PARENT TRYING TO RAISE A FAMILY, OR SOMEONE WHO'S TIRED OF FEELING STRESSED OUT AND PRESSED FOR TIME, YOU HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.


Her book, Take Time for Your Life, is a huge best-seller. Tens of thousands bought it. More than 40 million people in the USA alone buy anti-stress and self-improvement books every year. The e-customer is trying hard to tell the producers and providers of stuff everywhere that he wants more life for his lira. Simply delivering products cheaper to the customer's door isn't very creative. It may be logistically challenging to many businesses involved, but it isn't likely to thrill the e-customer. Sometimes he isn't sure what all the fuss is about. Usually he just expects more.

If he spares it any thought at all he wonders just how hard it can be to turn his self-typed order into a rapid delivery. He does all the work, so of course he deserves the price savings. This is what he has been taught to think. He wanted to think it anyway. But we have advertised and marketed the savings angle so hard that he accepts it as his birthright.

If you sell it cheap you have to make it for less. Cheaper requires greater efficiency. Or poverty. And penniless does not make good shareholder reading. Less money at just the time that the business requires more investment to make the services really work - it's a tough combination. And it has been accentuated by so much of the spending on marketing. Spend more: to tell your e-customers that they can save more. Are you sure that is the most sensible approach?

Check your money-grabbing motivations in at the door

Inventiveness, experimentation, greed and fear: the driving forces behind so much of the activity. Inventors produce tools. Experimenters play with them and find that they might just be able to compete with the big guys. Greed drives the flocks of net millionaire `wannabees' to launch copy-cat services. Fear provokes the established businesses to invest in fending off the start-ups.

Businesses globally continue to pour in money. The cost of the infrastructure to support such services is immense. The investment required to provide the services themselves is even higher. Those who have paid in want to see pay-back, a rapid return on the investment of millions or billions.

Bidding for the `thin air' licences required for new generation, high performance wireless communications has led to phenomenal prices being paid. And now the proud owners of such licences need to build the networks to utilize them. They will have to come up with reasons for the e-customer to pay more than $1,000 a head for the new services...

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
SECTION 1 The situation 2(34)
It's the customer, stupid
3(16)
Boring, boring, boring
19(5)
It isn't (and it is) just another channel...
24(7)
I belong to me
31(5)
SECTION 2 The e-customer 36(26)
Will the real e-customer please stand up?
37(8)
Star Trek expectations
45(4)
Service saboteur
49(7)
Fan clubs and user communities
56(6)
SECTION 3 The fight 62(154)
The challenge
63(16)
Through the looking glass
63(8)
In the blue corner ... the real world
71(4)
Six senses working overtime
75(4)
The proposition
79(22)
The wonderful world of 'free'
80(6)
The housekeeper question
86(3)
One billion e-customers?
89(7)
Something with a soul
96(2)
The grape-nut story
98(3)
The e-generations
101(34)
This revolution has a history
102(2)
Me-inc.com
104(5)
Pester power
109(4)
They play but will they pay?
113(6)
Websites come from Mars
119(5)
Solving mothers' dilemmas
124(4)
Don't call me grandpa
128(4)
The enabled disabled
132(3)
The hunt
135(20)
Mind grab
136(8)
The night has a thousand eyes
144(6)
Spin them 360 degrees and make them dizzy
150(5)
The experience
155(61)
Ups and downs of the e-customer
156(10)
Give a little whistle ...
166(6)
That's how it always starts
172(8)
Never be taken for granted
180(2)
An affair to remember
182(2)
Avoiding icky sticky
184(5)
Can't you do it the way I like it?
189(3)
Fantastic elastic
192(4)
How do you smile over the web?
196(7)
Hearing gibberish
203(7)
Hot news! Technology doesn't always work
210(6)
SECTION 4 Back to the beginning 216(8)
Back to the beginning
217(1)
Twenty-one principles to win hearts and wallets
218(6)
Notes 224(5)
Index 229

Foreword

A word to the wise: Customers will never go out of fashion.

WAP will go out of fashion. Personal computers will become landfill site material. Interactive Digital Television will lose and then regain its sparkle. Technologies with wild, wacky, and unpronounceable names will arrive and depart unmourned. Each device will have frenzies and crises.

All these things and more will happen but in 50 years people will still be shopping: at least they will still have needs to be met through an exchange of value. This will remain a constant.

But the services must change. The stuff has to improve. The e-customer is evolving. His aspirations have been fed by years of science fiction and soap-style images of the rich and famous. He has been promised more. He is certain that a better everything is out there.

The only way to get the e-customer's cash is to create stuff that has value for him. You need to understand him. You need to get closer. You and your colleagues must learn to empathize, visualize and innovate on behalf of the e-customer.

That's why this book is not focused on presenting long structured case studies. In such material you only learn what your competitors want you to learn about their services. You don't think they would let you in on anything of real value do you?

Perhaps their success is not success at all. Perhaps it won't keep them alive, thriving, enjoying the benefits of growth. Perhaps they have only transferred their off-line products and services online in the most mindless, uncreative manner - with no value added for the hundreds of millions invested.

The focus here is about competing for the attention and spending power of the wiredgeneration You can't do that by just reading accounts of what others have done. A set of principles is needed so that you can create your own innovation - so that you can win the mind and wallet of the e-customer.

Technologists talk about `best of breed' as the ideal mixture of components, collected from different manufacturers, in order to do a required job. The examples that are presented in this book may not be perfect. In fact they are not perfect. So look on them as springboards to your own innovations. If you can't improve on them and can only copy then you will only ever be in defensive mode anyway. Grab hold of them and ask how you can slot together enough of these best of breed approaches into one world beating e-customer inspired organization. Underline what you find useful. Make your own lists. Do your own work. Create your own differentiated benefit to the e-customer by opening up a dialogue with him.

Creating useful stuff for the e-customer will never go out of fashion.

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