Solving Problems

By eweek  |  Posted 2005-06-17 Print this article Print

If you can visualize a pyramid, and you place your very best customers at the top of the pyramid—whether theyre the biggest or the smallest, it doesnt matter, however you define your best customers—and you ask them all what is the most important thing to them, other than price and your ability to deliver product, theyll say, "Access to your company. I want to be able to reach in and solve my problems, either on a reactive basis or a proactive basis, and I want to be able to do that with you. I cant do that with your competition." In the broadest sense, it would mean that we become the consummate experts in the PC space using the Web as our primary platform to deliver honest and straightforward content.
If you ask why cant our competition do this, I would answer they dont have to, and, two, the way they approach the marketplace is inconsistent with that approach.
They would have to change their operating approach, and they wont because they dont have to. We have to. Effectively, we have to be nicer, more approachable, more responsive to our customers, and in many respects we have to be proactive. We have to go out and meet needs they may not even identify as needs. You mentioned that direct and the Web are really the vehicles for creating that intimacy. Can you elaborate on that? This is in the broadest sense. Right now, if you look on the Internet, can you name the consummate site, the expert, the one expert on all computing needs? Where would you go? There is not one site. When weve done our research, there are a number of sites that you can go to get feedback. … Theres not one site you can go to and say, "You know what? I can get almost all my questions answered from this particular Web site or through interaction with this company." So were going to use the Web in this manner to provide fairly focused but concise information, delivered in a very straightforward manner, with as little bias as possible. Theres always room for interpretation, but clearly one of our major competitors method of operation is to advertise items that they have no intention of selling, that they try not to sell. Theyre typically under-configured, very low-priced products and they take you through an exhaustive process of stepping you up, and by the time youre done, youve spent twice as much. I call that dishonest. I worked out of retail for a long period of time, and typically the retailers who use that process were, in fact, sued by the state attorney general. That is not an honest-broker position. We want to be in a position to tell our customers what we believe they should buy based on their needs. So the goal is two-fold: to become a destination and to have honest information to build a relationship with your customers? That is exactly right. What happens is you spend less marketing dollars. If I look at the most trafficked Web sites in the world, they are really sites for content and information, not sites for commerce. So I think by offering both, a site to conduct commerce, but first and foremost a place to come and get information, well be able to reinforce our brand for being honest, friendly, smart, sociable. Next Page: Lacking a strong message.


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