Friday, October 31, 2008

The Power Of Online 

Note in this essay the power of the internet over manufacturers of electronic equipment. It wasn't that long ago manufacturers rarely paid attention to "Internet bitching." Today, most product and service providers maintain web monitoring, even when they are small. This has been a seismic change in customer relations and service. Customers have power over companies through their global ability to express dissatisfaction that results in loss of sales. Yet, it is still a minority of customers who complain. A company cannot tell from the level of complaints online whether it has a problem or a vocal minority pounding a drum. (Most of the time it is the latter.) Still, business dare not ignore even the smallest contingent because they know that most buyers look at the internet first as part of a purchase decision.

Online is useful for tracking what is right and wrong with a product or service, but it isn't as helpful in forecasting the kinds of products and services that should be built. For example, it is unlikely American auto manufacturers could have seen the massive shift away from SUV's from conversation on forums and web pages. It happened in weeks, but it takes years to build a new platform.


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