In fact I know exactly who Instapaper’s customers are: the app users. Knowing that allows me to know Instapaper’s motives: make the app users happy. In that respect Instapaper and The Brooks Review have the same customers.
I love email, in the right place it works great! I know who I can get fast email responses out of when I need them, and if it’s not real important no big deal if it goes unopened for a while. BUT the key is “in the right places!”.In my day job our customers don’t “do” email. Some, or most, have email addresses but you’ll be lucky to get a response in a week! The bulk of our orders are handled via Fax, a great technology for sending purchase orders and custom measurment forms. Because of this the office work flow is setup to efficiently process orders via fax. Email just doesn’t fit. When the one person who handles the “general mailbox” for orders is on vacation guess what, stuff piles up and there is a pretty good chance something will get missed..You may say but Bill there are some great email-fax and fax-email solutions out there. Yes there are, but when two out of 600+ people use it, I’m sorry just not gonna happen. Get with the 1980 people, we still need fax machines..This is aside from the fact that some people get hundreds of emails a day. Few people are efficient enough at sorting and filtering through all that to find those important orders.All I’m saying is know your place, if your customers and you have a good workflow via email then great, but you may have to act as a digital to analog convertor when you pass it on!.One question I do have, how many of you still have fax machines in your offices? What kind of office is it? Tech?
Blah, Blah, PAB, Blah, Blah. I did have a couple good ideas about how the price of a conference effects the people, and business, who feel the value of attending. MOV Link
I’ve been thinking about how business is done from the opposite perspective then most. I always read about how as a business you have to treat the customer right and whatnot. What about treating your suppliers right?.First off “the customer is always right” is bullshit. My customers don’t run my company I do! There is give and take and we should all be rowing in the same direction but it’s not all going to go the customers way. I am allowed to turn away an order and maybe that will affect your future purchases but that’s my decision. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been handed an order that is our policy to turn away and been told by my customer that I have to take it. No I don’t, if I’m in a good mood and I like you I can choose to accept the order and help you out but believe me what you take that attitude I’m likely not going to help no matter what..This leads to my larger point about being a good customer. Everyone always wants a good (fair) price and great service, I like to think of it as value for your money not just cheap, but what I propose is that you help your supplier by being a good customer and that will enable them to be more efficient and pass on some of the savings that that causes to you..If one of my customers sends me a complete order, all the information I need is there and correct, I can process it effficiently and, one have a better turn around time, two do that for a lower price, and three all of us are just generally more happy doing our jobs! I can’t count the times I get incomplete orders and nothing but flack when I call back to get the information, it only frustrates us both and that’s not productive..All factors effect how well everyone can preform and reach a common goal! A happier end user, which is good for all of us! Just think about that next time you issue a PO!
On the topic of business again, a little information on my trip is of relevance. We were in Ottawa putting on a table top display show with a couple information seminars for our customers in that area. Afterwards the Ottawa Senators were playing at home just down the road so between all our sister companies we got a private box that holds about 30 for us and about 20 of our customers. The evening was great, the Scotia Bank Place has to be one of the nicest venues for anything that I have been in. Now it seam expensive, and it is to a point, but for that price you just can’t beat the reaction you get from your customers. They really talk about and remember the experience for a long time. I’m guessing this differs in different industries but thats besides the point. What my point is about is how kind of backwards it seam to me that these four small sister companies, all have some common ownership in the group, can put on this event and justify the expense of getting a private box and yet our largest competitor, at likely more the 50 times our gross sales, can do it. I attribute it to the fact that the only people there that can authorize that size of a one time expense don’t care or can’t see the value in the 10 or so companies. We on the other hand see a huge benefit, if we only get ten percent of each of their business we haven’t lost money we’ve likely doubled our investment. I think that word describes it best, small business see and investment and the eight hundred pound gorilla sees expense! So remember on either side of the coin, if your the business or the consumer, bigger isn’t always better!