The Challenge of a Huge Bargain and Complex Fulfillment
But when you promise two-week delivery, do not—I repeat—DO NOT send one shirt and high-handedly announce the other two will be along in a month-and-a-half or so.
This is another kind of CRM—Customer Relationship Misery.
The Missing Hyperlinks
For a merchant who cares about his customers, an easy solution exists: merge the order and inventory systems.
If Denny Hatch orders shirt that is out of stock, a pop-up message should appear onscreen:
- Currently out of stock. Will ship 7 June 2013. OK? __Yes __No
- Ready now, your choice of: ___Pinpoint ___Poplin ___Twill
This is not big pounds sterling à la printing thousands of full-color catalogs, list rental, postage or New York Times insertion fees.
It's a programming challenge. Invest in it once and you—and your customers—benefit for years to come.
This is also classic P.R.—letting people in on what you're doing and showing customers you care deeply about them.
Takeaways to Consider
- "As direct marketers, we're not here primarily to make a sale; we're here to get a customer. Sales are important, of course. (Where would marketers be without them?) But the name of the game is repeat sales rather than one-shots. And to have that, you need a customer." —Joan Throckmorton
- According to numerous websites, Edwards Air Force Base was the site of the birth of Murphy's Law. ("If anything can go wrong, it will.") In 1949, Capt. Edward A. Murphy was a project engineer who discovered a transducer wrongly wired. He said of the technician who was responsible for the goof, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." Murphy's comment was noted and he became world famous. Other laws:
—Nothing is as easy as it looks.
—Everything takes twice as long as you think—then double that.
—Everything costs twice as much as you think—then double that.
—Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
—If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
—Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
—If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
—If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
—Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
—If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
—Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
—Mother Nature is a bitch.
—It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
—Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
—Every solution breeds new problems.
- Before signing off on any marketing scheme put yourself inside your prospective customer's head. Think how he thinks. Feel what she feels. Become your own customer!
- As your customer, you'll know exactly how you want to be treated every step of the way and can set up your systems accordingly.
- Checklists are essential. Don't do business without them.
- Below is my 55-word, 4-star review of Dr. Atul Gawande's "The Checklist Manifesto." I believe every person in business should read it.
**** The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Dr. Atul Gawande. Dazzling descriptions of how checklists are created, save lives in hospitals, help Warren Buffett analyze companies, prevent disasters on crippled airliners, enable skyscrapers to be built, restaurants to run and how Wal-Mart saved New Orleans in Katrina. Checklists keep smart people from screwing up, as well as create teamwork and foster communications. A masterpiece! Metropolitan Books, 224pp, ISBN13: 978-0805091748, $24.50 hardcover. —DH 02-17-10