So Who Says Youre Right?

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2001-01-15

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 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."

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