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Websites only Dr. Frankenstein could love

by Michael Maoz  |  April 22, 2009  |  Comments Off on Websites only Dr. Frankenstein could love

It’s amazing that most websites attact any customers at all. Maybe it is more correct to say that the sites themselves would never actually attract a customer, but the business leaves them no other choice if they want to buy goods and services, or look for information. It’s hard for most of us to say, because we don’t have enough reliable data. What we’ve got is Frankenstein’s monster, built from parts that were never intended originally to fit together.

How customer centric is your website? How is your money spent on your website? If you are like the majority of organizations, most of it is going to areas that do not help the customer experience. They’re important, of course: security, hosting centers, designers, procurement, brochures that nobody reads, integration, more design, inbound email that never gets back to the customer. If you look at your customer surveys, there is a lot of frustration. And if you ask your sales, marketing or service team, there is even more frustration.

What happens when a major event hits your business? From what I have seen, it causes a fire drill: the FAQ writers update the knowledge base. The search engine folks optimize the search engine. The banner creators create new banners. The scripting folks write new scripts for the web and for the customer service reps. And if it is about price changes, well, another entire set of processes need to be synchronized.

And pity the poor team that needs to analyze what is happening, because each of us has our own analytics and reporting tools. Analytics for marketing, for search results, for page views, for latency, for downloads…

The good news is that some companies are bringing together their design folks and their data folks, and putting them in front of customers. The results for these leading companies, like Google and Amazon and Starwood Hotels and eBay, are customers that like to come back to the website, and trust the website.

As much as it is very cool that you can tie FaceBook and Twitter into a community on your site, try not to run so fast past Web 2.0 that you lose site of the goal of the customer-centric web. It is CRM, and it’s social. CRM is to get folks interested in you, your brand, your offerings. Social is to allow them to interact with each other and with you to share ideas.

As much as some marketing folks would like to say it is just about a beautiful site, there is a lot of thinking that has to go into the technology as well. Right now gobs of money are wasted maintaining and synchronizing dozens of systems, because so many businesses lack a comprehensive web technology strategy. Sure, let’s get process right first. Then? We’re going to have to think about how to make the technology more manageable.

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Category: crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

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