Do more with less for your business-Segment your customers and suppliers for Internet “self service”

// <![CDATA[
// &lt;![CDATA[
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-857684-6']);
(function() {
var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl&#039; : 'http://www&#039;) + '';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
// ]]&gt;
// ]]>

To do more with less for your business you need to segment customers and suppliers into different categories or segments of Internet adoption and then encourage different levels of "self service."

One way of segmenting Internet users is to divide them simply into non-users,users and online buyers as in this paper. Recognize that people move along from Internet-non users to users and online buyers over time and as Internet diffusion increases. There could be finer distinctions in your business like some people might do transactions online but still like to receive paper statements at certain times. Be flexible and go along with customers who still want some paper statement or just do not want any Internet but want to talk on the phone. A few questions when they call next time can help categorize them into a "self service" category where they may be able to do certain things online. These tasks will increase over time and as you offer more easy options for self service.

Just by understanding and acting on the different Internet adoption behavior of your external stake holders like distributors, customers and suppliers can help you do more with less. You improve loyalty,satisfaction,accuracy,reduce costs and increase efficiency. However, by taking an "all or nothing" approach like convert entirely to online statements or pay 2-5$ per paper statement or  pay a $5-20 fee  for a phone payment  is just counterproductive.

Internet diffusion theory suggests that you can never have all customers,suppliers or for that matter employees who will become identical in their use of Internet applications. So it's best to recognize, identify (segment) and deal with the different segments appropriately.

Leave a Reply