May 29, 2007

Give Me Someone To Believe In

Last week, Dell agreed to sell computers in Wal-Mart stores, even though management repeatedly assured us that they are a direct-to-consumer brand.

The punditocracy tells us we need to emulate Circuit City and their "Buy Online, Pickup In Store" multichannel program. Yet, Circuit City is fighting to stay in business, as sales sag. Weren't we told that multichannel customers were the best customers? If Circuit City provides a great multichannel experience, then why in the heck aren't they swimming in a pool of profit produced by a ton of multichannel customers, the most valuable of all customers?

Of course, Circuit City competes with the successful Best Buy chain of electronics stores. The punditocracy tells us we should emulate Best Buy's "Customer Centric" approach to store design. On the surface, that would seem like a good idea, because they're killing Circuit City. And yet, Best Buy is accused of allegedly implementing a "bait and switch" program, whereby customers saw one price online, then were shown a higher price in an in-store online version of the website. If this is true, how "Customer Centric" is that? And if the lawsuit is proven to not be valid, the small number of customers who received a higher price did not receive a "Customer Centric" experience, did they?

Dell, Circuit City and Best Buy are "brands" that have a veritable plethora of hard working, earnest employees, all trying to do what is best for their customers and shareholders.

Each week, the punditocracy tells us who we should emulate, and why. All too often, their logic is flawed. We shouldn't copy Dell and their direct-to-consumer model. We shouldn't copy Circuit City and their "Buy Online, Pickup In Stores" program. We shouldn't copy Best Buy and their "Customer Centric" approach.

Instead, believe in yourself, and do what is best for your "brand". Give me someone to believe in --- YOU!!!

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, a great thought-provoking (and hopefully action-provoking!) post. It is always good to look to other companies, both inside and outside your own industry, to see who has some great ideas. The problem is, they all have problems. No company is perfect. When I profile a Customers Rock! company, I point out the things they are doing right, but there is always room for improvement.

    "Best practices" are good to review and keep in mind, but the best way to improve your own company is to look to what your customers want/need. Each company's customers are different; what works for one may or many not work for another.

    I agree with you. Let's look at some good ideas to get us going/inspire us, then look at ourselves and our customers to see where we need to take our own business. Who knows? We may find a new way to do things that no one else has yet considered!

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