Know thy customer. The customer's always right. Careful attention to these timeless adages is more critical to success in the Net economy than all the technology a company can throw at its online business, according to analyst Patricia Seybold.
That's not to say the underlying technology - particularly highly transactional Web servers and the widespread use of XML tags - is not crucial to any electronic-business initiative. But, knowing your customers and tailoring your Web business to their needs and wants is priority number one, said Seybold during her keynote speech at the Women in Technology International (WITI) conference here last week.
"The Internet is only a catalyst for e-commerce," said Seybold. "But the companies that are doing well don't focus only on the Net. They, for example, also have exquisite, 24 x 7 call centres and other customer-centric strategies."
Whether it's business-to-business or consumer-to-business electronic-commerce, companies should not be concerned with the number of hits or "eyeballs" on their site, Seybold said. Instead, their measure of success should be based on how many customers they interact with on a one-to-one basis, how many repeat customers they garner and what their customer retention rates are.