In Chapter 14, we introduce the idea of digital self-service (see Exhibit 14-3 and the related discussion). As artificial intelligence (AI) advances, more companies are using AI and intelligent agents to deliver on-demand customer service. You can learn more by reading “ 8 FAQs About Artificial Intelligence and Customer Service ,” (Customer Think, December 17, 2016). How could a cell phone carrier (like Verizon or Sprint) utilize the technology discussed in this article? How could a bank? Do you think this service is more effective than using real human beings?
Amazon appears to be interested in doing “last mile” logistics. “Last mile” refers to delivery from a final warehouse or distribution center to a customer’s door. Right now, Amazon relies mostly on UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service to perform this part of the logistics function. Now Amazon appears to be threatening to take over the last mile as well. You can read more about this in “ Amazon Will Deliver Their Own Packages – Revolution At The Delivery Door, ” (Forbes, September 29, 2016). Considering what you learn in chapter 11 and in this article, what are likely the main reasons for Amazon to be considering this delivery [Continue Reading …]
For the last couple of decades, retailers have been experimenting with technology to address the part of grocery shopping consumers hate most – checkout! This USA Today article, “ Can Amazon Fix the Grocery Game? ” (December 8, 2016) provides a quick overview of six technology solutions that have been or will be used soon – from self-checkout to smart appliances. Do you think the new Amazon Go checkout system will revolutionize the grocery business? Which of the other solutions show the greatest promise? What criteria should be used to evaluate this type of technology?
Personal selling has an important place in the marketing mix. While costly, salespeople can look a customer right in the eye and adapt their message and advice depending on how customers respond to questions. Personal selling is usually a key element in the B2B promotion blend. The high cost of personal selling and customers’ growing comfort with the Internet are changing the nature of personal selling. The number of outside salespeople continues to grow, but much more slowly. On the other hand, the number of people engaging in inside sales (on the phone or interacting online) is growing rapidly. Inside [Continue Reading …]
One of the core elements of the marketing concept is “total company effort” (along with customer satisfaction and doing it at a profit). A lot of marketing managers fear allowing customers to interact directly with their non-marketing/sales employees. These people are often untrained at the “art” of customer communication. Such assumptions are usually proven false. For my students of marketing, this one isn’t meant to comment on, so much as to give you some insight into the business world.
This long article examines the importance of the drive-thru window for quick serve restaurants (QSRs). For example, some Taco Bell locations get 70% of their business the drive-thru window, with 80% of that revenue coming during the 90 minute lunchtime rush! With this in mind, Taco Bell has focused on improving the speed and quality of the customer drive-thru experience. This article, “ Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-Thru ” (Bloomberg Businessweek, May 5, 2011) details many of those strategy changes. What do you think this move has to say about changes in consumer behavior? What other strategy changes could Taco Bell make to further appeal [Continue Reading …]
Zappos has a reputation for great customer service. This short post at The Consumerist, “ Zappos CSR’s Kindness Warms Our Cold Hearts ” (January 17, 2010) describes how “knock your socks off” customer service fuels positive word-of-mouth. Read the post and the comments below. What do you think? Is this type of customer service worthwhile? How could you calculate the benefits of the Zappos’ CSR’s (customer service rep) decision to send flowers to a customer? Think about the lifetime value of a loyal customer and add in the number of customers she influences with her word-of-mouth.
Hiring people who know horses and/or farming gives them a leg up when serving Tractor Supply’s customers. This article, “ Tractor Supply Makes Hiring The Right Staff Pay Off ” (Investors Business Daily, January 7, 2011), provides a nice example of customer service and personal selling. The article also highlights something we talk about in the cross-functional chapter in Basic Marketing — the importance of marketing working closely with HR. As you develop a personal marketing plan, this article provides evidence that if you follow your passion (work for a company that produces products you use and love) — you will likely to a much better job.