CDW - High Touch in a High-Tech Era (1,778 words)
Explains Ross, "If someone from the client company orders via his extranet, say, a network cable that won't match the servers we sold his company a few months ago, his CDW account manager can alert him to that, even if the client placed the order at 3 a.m. The next morning, when account managers log on, they can see the overnight orders placed by their clients and check that everything is all right before we ship the products out. In this way we become, in essence, an extension of the customer's IT department."
In addition, CDW@work clients can use the extranet to see their own CDW invoices (current and past), track their own shipments and even assign certain parameters to their orders. For example, they can denote that only certain people within their company can place orders amounting to $1,000 or more.
Says CIO Jim Shanks, "The extranet is not siloed away into its own database. It's integrated into our entire operations."
In fact, this is almost a transparent operation. On the back-end, account managers can leave notes in the comment fields on the company's AS400—notes accessible only by other CDW employees—about special customer requests or recent correspondence with clients. This comes in handy, says Joe Kremer, vice president of marketing, when customers are having problems.
"Say one of our collection co-workers is about to call a customer for payment," explains Kremer. "The collection agent, working in our accounting department, can log on to see if the customer has been trying to return to us the item for which he or she hasn't yet paid. Perhaps there's something wrong or the product doesn't work. So it saves us time and shows the client that we're up-to-speed and value their business."
Having such integrated, up-dated information at the click of a mouse, Kremer continues, also enables account managers to pro-actively try to please their customers—fixing minor ordering and fulfillment snafus before