The other day, i pulled up at the drive-through window of my bank to see them flipping the sign to "Closed." I checked my watch. It was still 2 minutes before the posted close of business.
The other day, i pulled up at the drive-through window of my bank to see them flipping the sign to "Closed." I checked my watch. It was still 2 minutes before the posted close of business. And when I say its 4:58, I mean plus or minus 10 seconds according to www.time.gov. I mentioned this annoying episode to the manager when I returned, two days later, to make the transaction that theyd delayed by their error. His response was "we do the best we can." On my way home, I suddenly noticed how many banks had branch locations closer to my house.
This incident got me thinking about several issues that ought to concern every e-business.
First: Its foolish to base your business on the assumption that you know more than your customers do. The bank clock no longer defines the correct time for its community, any more than the local bankers intuition determines the competitive rate of interest. Market rates are just as accessible to the customers of the bank as they are to its managers; likewise, the latest reports on drug interactions to the folks in a doctors waiting room or the latest IRS private letter rulings to the person consulting a tax attorney. Merely knowing things is not enough.
Second: Its the customer, not the business, who gets to decide if customer satisfaction has been achieved. Suppose that research finds that the average customers watch is 3 minutes behind. Wouldnt it make sense to delay ones actual closing time by 3 minutes, thereby meeting the expectations of at least half of ones customers? Or even 5 minutes, perhaps satisfying 90 percent?
Every business must recognize the need for continual research and must recognize that satisfaction is in the mind of the customer. The "e" in e-business stands for "expectations."
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.