Monitoring the online customer experience, by Mark Hurst.
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Building an E-Business for Real

Friday, April 28, 2000
by Mark Hurst

With the end, or the beginning of the end, of the tech stock bubble, it's finally time for the dotcoms to focus on the customer. These days it might not not be such a good idea to waste investors' money on $20 million TV ad campaigns, overdesigned sites, and exorbitant sushi-and-lobster parties. Instead, it's time to build the business for real, by focusing on the customer. Because, after all, the customer experience is the key to e-business sucess.


A Salon article reports the following: "Dot-com valuations may have withered, but the enthusiasm for extravagant dot-com parties hasn't... on average, each [party] costs $30,000 to $50,000... although the $250,000 blowout is hardly rare." And a recent New York Times piece talks about the out-of-control spending of many Net firms.

A more reasonable account comes from Business 2.0, which discusses the importance of (gasp!) profits.

Finally, the best article in recent memory on sane online business: this New York Times story by Bob Tedeschi. One dotcom CEO notes how he recently focused the company on the customer experience, not technology: "'Four of our engineers wanted to work on WAP," [he] said, referring to the company's wireless-access initiative. 'I said, fine, but you have to work on the site's search first, because after the checkout page, it's the No. 1 most abandoned part of the site.'"

Of course, none of this is new information! Customer experience has always been the most effective investment in e-business. The recent market activity, however, is forcing dotcoms to make a choice: get serious now about the customer experience, or fade out for good.

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