The Web : The Old & New Marketplace Together
The Web is a combination of the old Greek marketplace where people came to talk, buy, and discuss, as they do in chat rooms and other places on the Web. It is a medium to share ideas, see instantly updated news flashes, view Google searches, and review traffic at your own website.
Nothing is quite as powerful as the Web and email contacts coming from it. People can instantly respond to the smallest of things. The beauty of this for a business is people will let you know about the little things they would not have otherwise bothered to contact you.
Some companies don't like all the feedback. If that is the case, they might as well liquidate now. Customers love to communicate. What do they want most? Responses.
We emphasize fast responses because that's what they want. You should leverage off this new virtually free medium to gain customers, test the responses to your new products or services, modify old ones, change pricing and generally calibrate about everything going on in your business.
Netflix.com is a model site.
· You can sign up on line.
· They take all the hassle out of trips to the video store, late fees, feeling like you are in detention, being punished if you are late on CDs, and having to select only what is in the store when you are there.
· They mail your CDs.
· If you lose one, they generally let it go.
· They email you another immediately.
· They let you set up a list of titles that they will send from.
· They give recommendations.
· They charge you monthly and let you change your program/pay plan any time you want to do so.
As a result, they have high customer satisfactionand low costs, since all of their processes are automated. They keep improving their system as they keep interacting with their customers on a daily basis. They, like itunes, have figured out how to get yougreat media for about $1 each. We do it in software but we arent up against the high costs of paying a Julia Roberts or recording star. They do it by averaging their costs across the line and having automated all the steps along the way.
They deliver great service at low prices by paying close attention to consumer demands and automating their costs away.
You should seek to do the same on your website.
What should you do to follow their example?
1. Simplify and automate customer service to the fullest extent possible.
· At simplymagazine.net, a customer does not need to sign in. They can buy whatever they want, fill out the form, and that's that. No registration. We learned from Netflix and others! You should too.
· Our Tech support has automatic searchable answers, with a backup email to us if we have failed to answer questions and then we try to fix that problem for next time. We learned this from them too.
2. Never slow down the customer. Netflix never does. Speed, speed, speed is their motto.
3. Don't make them register unless it is a membership club like Netflix. Otherwise, if they order, you have the information anyway.
· Provide detailed documents about your products and/or services.
· The more detail the better.
· Don't require them to read it but let them if they want to do so.
4. Simplify navigation
· Start with what they are interested in, your products or services, not About Us.
· Be diligent about keeping unnecessary buttons, charts, and other things out of their way.
5. Make membership a pleasure.
· Netflix does this.
· Hertz.com and Southwest.com do wonderful jobs of this too.
Think of what the airlines have done to help. They have automated ticket purchases, boarding pass print outs, seat selections, and generally taken all the hassle out of the process.
Create conversations with email correspondents. Find out what they think, want, don't want, value, don't value, and listen until it hurts.
This is better than any number of meetings on the subject. As Tom Peters says, If 5 people like it, it is probably a good idea. If 5 dont you should probably drop it.
Over and over again I have found this to be true in marketing. This is why word of mouth is so powerful. People have learned that if a few people like something, it is probably good. If not, forget it.
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