Are You Worldclass Online? Seven principles to think about...

The other day I was talking with my partner Jamie Yoder about a client who was asking him: What does it mean to be a world class online organization?  Here are seven things that I think are critical to be world class online.

  • Frictionless Contact: You must know as much about your customer as they know about you.  There is an easy test for this, when the customer calls, does your organization have all the product, services and transactions you have had with the customer or do they have to regive you their name, address, number, etc., etc.  It should be frictionless contact.  USAA does this in insurance, and Zappos does it for shoes.
  • Anywhere, Anytime, Anyway Commerce: You must be ready to do business anywhere, anyway and anytime.  There are over 4.6 billion cell phones in the world, and in the USA the 8-18 year old generation uses media 10 hours and 45 minutes a day.  People expect to be served where they are and the way they want to.
  • Continuous Customer Context: If you have a hybrid distribution channel with some direct, some agents, a separate service center, and other touchpoints, the world class organizations have create a continuous context for the customer.
  • Real Time Brand Management: World class organizations have a real time brand management and service organization.  For example, when Southwest had a problem with Kevin Smith and Twitter, they knew about it immediately and were able to react.  Their web, social media, and call center activities are fully integrated and continuously managed.
  • Super Sensitive Listening: The very best also listen for complaints ten times as carefully as they listen for satisfaction. The reason they should do this is that bad news spreads seven to ten times as far and good news.
  • Seamless Integration With Social Sites: It is essential to interoperate with existing social content sites like Facebook and Linked-In so that customers find it easy to connect to you and your services.
  • Gifting as Branding: Market leaders like Coke and Pepsi have created gifting campaigns to help build their brands in the social media realm.  Pepsi's Refresh the World Campaign gave away about $20 million to charities suggested by and voted on by the world at large.

In a world of too many choices, those who ease the stress of choosing with the ideas above, will gain more market share and have happier customers.  How well does your organization stack up?

Recent or related posts and links:

Innovating at Scale in a Successful Company: What Microsoft Could Learn from Lo

Creating Customer Communities: Two different innovations in conversation