OK, so I am back on my soapbox about how customer service and technology are interdependent. Indulge me for just a couple of minutes. I will make this blog entry short, I promise.
Those of you that know me know that I do a lot of reading. For some strange reason, even though I decided against college in my youth, I have never been able to turn off the learning switch in my brain. My library is filled with 99% non-fiction – a good portion of which are biographies and business profiles.
I read a story today that sums up my entire sermon on how taking care of the customer, through the use of information technology, will grow your business in ways you could never imagine. Without boring you with all the details, it boils down to this:
The story was about a guy named Jack Miller. Jack sold office supplies by direct mail, but with the rise in the popularity of the Internet he saw an opportunity. Already successful, he was willing to bet that he could attract even more customers by using the computer. So, he brought in a strategic partner and had a system developed to do this. Once complete, he went through the painful process of hooking up his 650,000 customers to an online ordering system where for only $14.95 they could use his specially designed software to order items in just thirty seconds.
Jack was right. Sales immediately jumped and the system was said to have paid for itself in only a few months. He didn’t stop there though. As the internet became more popular, he kept adjusting his strategy to keep gaining market share until his company was eventually acquired by one of it’s largest competitors, netting him a small fortune in the process.
Jack’s company? You will probably recognize it: Quill corporation. It’s now owned by Staples and is still a market leader.