INSIDE ACCESS: REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
We've Always Done It That Way
Scott Witter, vice president, U.S. wealth management & business technology at Hartford Life, noted at the recent
SpeechTEK conference that companies sometimes need to rethink business principles that are in place for
seemingly no better reason than "We've always done it that way." The Hartford found it was losing a significant
number of its customers during the last stage of its online bill-pay sign-up process. "We couldn't figure out why
people were going through the whole process and then dropping out at the last moment," he said. Noting that
the last stage included asking for the customer's phone number, Witter and his team found themselves wondering,
"Is that necessary?"
After removing the phone-number requirement -- which had been in place for so long that no one was exactly sure
why it was there -- the insurer recorded a 6.3 percent increase in its completion rate for bill-pay sign-ups.
-- Kevin Zimmerman
When You Absolutely, Positively Want Loyalty
FedEx is aiming to absolutely, positively continue to raise the bar on its customer experience, according to
Om Chokriwala, managing director of strategic marketing. During his presentation at the recent Customer Feedback
Week, Chokriwala said the company created a loyalty vision to help guide its customer strategy. The four
elements of that vision are:
1. Create and retain loyal customers
2. Create a loyalty index that the company can use to measure performance
3. Understand customers' loyalty drivers
4. Make decisions based on those drivers
One major objective, Chokriwala said, is to improve loyalty by linking feedback, operational performance, and actual
customer behavior. "We weren't measuring the whole customer experience from their perspective," he said. So
FedEx created what he called the Customer Experience Corridor, which comprises nine areas, and defined 42
attributes within those areas that qualitative and quantitative research findings said were important.
The company also aligns its external customer research with its internal performance measures. "This ensures
that we're aligning customer experience and company priorities," he said. It's a strategy that for FedEx
-- Ginger Conlon
INSIDE ACCESS: READER FEEDBACK
Re: Terracycle Uses Second Life to Reach Real Customers
Issue Date: August 13, 2007
Virtual worlds -- I think we are more familiar with this term in the online gaming environment. In the corporate world looking at characters on the screen that represent customer service staff is OK. However, I think for the time and effort it is ridiculous. For a customer to have access to 24/7 customer service, I think they are very happy with an online help desk. You ask and get answers in real time or you can click online to get access to a live person streaming online. Think about it this way: If I were given two choices -- a virtual one or a real person -- I will take the real person every time. When the 10-year-olds who have been born into a virtual world grow up, maybe they would opt for the virtual character, but not me. Give me a real person every time.
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
I think that people feel safer in a "virtual" world and are therefore more relaxed, open, and honest. If that is true then it is a healthier realm to reach out to people.
Today's Ultimate Solutions, Inc.
Online portals like Second Life will sure help solid start-ups like TerraCycle reach their leads at a [lower] cost. While people are moving online, companies are getting a unique chance to extend their prospect lists from the online portals. Basically, you can apply the same targeting methods, though arguably more efficiently. Are the online communities here to stay for a long time? Yes. Quite a bit of people are now mass-living in the 3D-space having three dimensions: mail, email, and Web portal ID. It's a fact of life, and it will probably hold on.
Sr. Marketing Analyst
*Letters may be edited for space or clarity.