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e-Business Red Flags & Points of Failure

The measure of an e-business isn’t whether or not it will occasionally fail. That part is inevitable, at some point even the best system will fall over for somebody in some dimension. The measure of a competitive e-business is the effectiveness and efficiency of their response at that point of failure.

That sounds counter-intuitive to a lot of people. If somebody criticised your business under the old model you simply took offense and told them to hit the road. It was pretty much how the commercial world worked when customers were limited by geography to a subset of competitive alternatives.

In the modern context, every business (that has survived) has been forced to operate in hyper-competitive environments. What was once a large world with international borders and significant lag between destinations has shrunk, for the most part, to an always-on society where it’s just as easy to purchase a new leather wallet from the United States as from Bolivia, Latvia, China or Uganda. Or from the shop in your local central business district.

So we’ve adjusted our way of looking at the squeaky wheel who complains. More often than not people who complain are genuinely happy with the service except for that one glitch.

Ask yourself this question: If nobody ever complained about a product or service then how would it ever be improved? Through focus groups? No. Through progressively smart ideas in the coffee room? No.

That point of failure is a pool of opportunity to incrementally improve and you want… you absolutely need… people to complain. And the more you can tune a company culture into adopting that philosophy the more successful you can become in the hyper-competitive environment.

Points of failure provide significant opportunities at cheap cost and potentially great return. If you fix a glitch for one customer who complains then the issue won’t be had by the thousand customers who follow. It just makes common sense.

Think about it. Business A fields complaints like they were personal criticisms of their girlfriend’s underwear… versus Business B who fields complaints as opportunities to identify ways to improve and hone their service.

Who do you think wins the hearts, minds and wallets over the long-term in head-to-head competition? Yes, Business B. Hands down. Always.

A key component in your strategic e-business marketing document has to be the identification of red flags and points of failure. How to find them. How to fix them. How to respond to the criticism. The measure of a healthy e-business is the way they respond to those inevitable situations.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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