Information as a Competitive Advantage – Part 4, Information as a Service to the Customer

 


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Availability of rich information on products and services, can contribute positively to the Customer experience and the Customer perception on the Business maturity. Informative support on the buying experienceThe customer is interested to assure that the product evaluated shall meet his needs. Information on:

  • the product features combined with the provisioning framework (e. g. product delivery time, services which accompany the delivery, product guarantee)
  • the reputation of the Business and the product
  • alternative choices and features
  • product pricing,
facilitates Customer evaluation.

In e-commerce, the Customer cannot physically review the product (e. g. hold and read a book). The proactive procurement on the web, of all relevant product information is very important in order to reduce the Customer insecurity.

Amazon.com offers, the full table of contents and selected page samples, on almost each book sold. The Customer is able to review part of the contents, review commentaries by readers and make sure that a book covers her/his needs. Moreover Amazon.com is campaigning to convince authors to disclose part of their book content on the web page, in order to enhance the buyer experience and increase sales. Benjamin Moore paints, offers an interesting paint color testing experience on the web. The user can apply a huge range of available colors to virtual room spaces and evaluate the result. The potential to interactively review product features on the web, is very high. Information supporting the Customer service experience The Customer may be interested to learn quickly and accurately, thinks like:

  • How and when can a service fault be repaired
  • Options on delivery (e. g.

    a package can be delivered by normal or fast means)

  • Options on payment
  • When can a product be delivered or when can a service be activated
  • Why is a product delivery delayed
  • What does the product guarantee cover
  • How can a product be used
Each Business should identify ways to efficiently provide information like this to the Customer. This way the Customer is reassured and develops a positive view on the Business. For example, courier services major player UPS, offers its Customers a shipment tracking service.

Even though, info-based customer management is a self-evident process, Businesses which exploit fully the relevant potential and research continuously new ways to improve service, differentiate and place themselves competitively in the market. The better use of information, produces Customer value, not only during the product use, but also during the product search and evaluation phase, since it contributes to the following:

  • Customer consultation and education during Customer needs evaluation
  • Info search and retrieval facilitation
  • transaction cost reduction (time consumption reduction, physical visit elimination in case of info offered remotely)
Copyright 2006 – Kostis Panayotakis

Material relevant to information management, can be found at http://www.pleroforea.com

Kostis Panayotakis - http://www.pleroforea.com

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