First off, before we go any further you should know this is the second article in a
series. The first, Phase2: A Plan to Meet Your Goals is the
follow-up to a worksheet
on the Tutorials Site. The worksheet is structured so you can decide criteria for
establishing goals that would make your presence a success. Phase2: A Plan to Meet Your
Goals is an outline detailing the qualifications of a present employee or outside
contractor to manage your web site development and design.
The articles that follow are examples of ways to achieve these goals. Phase1: is a
series of Content and Style tutorials demonstrating how to build functionality, navigation
and useful content into a site. An overview of Phase1 is covered in the first Phase2
article as well.
If you haven't used the worksheet I strongly suggest you do so. If you have goals for
success and design around those criteria how can your presence not be successful? Basing
total success on internet sales is going to be a big let down. Why? If you have already
read the first article you know. It's all explained there. Now that's out of the way shall
we begin the business at hand?
Leveraging Infrastructure to Increase Employee Efficiency
Commerce on the internet is still in it's infancy. So, like a baby stumbling taking its
first steps the internet has a ways to go before it is walking and finally running. Just
like that infant falling, the net will someday run but when is the question and what do
you do in the meantime?
Any good business man will tell you the fastest way to increased profits is reducing
overhead and increasing employee efficiency. This was one of the reasons for the recession
in the early part of the Nineties as businesses increased efficiency by automating and
using computer and software solutions to cut expenses by increasing efficiency and
This had been slowly evolving and in the early Nineties Management at large companies
started noticing all the redundancy and overlap of tasks. The result, large numbers of
administrative employees being turfed with no chance of recall. Was it a coincidence that
many of these companies started recording record profits shortly after?
One of the unusual things about these layoffs was that unlike the past, where it was
the poor working stiffs on the line being laid off, it was the suits that were getting the
pinkies. How does this have anything to do with the topic here? Good Question!
The internet has the same capabilities where providing information, customer service,
inter company correspondence and marketing in a Global Economy are concerned. Properly
implemented, the internet provides solution strategies that reduce your overhead expenses,
increases employee efficiency and quality of customer service. Most of the time, at absolutely no
cost other then slight changes to company policy and procedure. The trick? Simple,
understanding how, when and where to implement the changes is the key.
A good integration and marketing strategy will leverage existing infrastructure
resulting in increased employee efficiency. The best part, cost is pennies on the dollar
and besides how do you put a value on improved customer service? Increased sales is the only
way to do this and we all know a happy customer is more likely to purchase. Customers who
spent ten minutes waiting on the phone chewing up long distance charges, are going to feel
a little annoyed when the customer rep finally gets to them. With good reason I might add!
It has been three years since this article was published.
Productivity due to the internet and technology in general are driving
the current growth of the worlds economies. Internet penetration is
still relatively low compared to other technologies like
telephone, fax and other media. Leveraging current infrastructure as the
transition to the "new economy" accelerates is necessary to
compete in the current business environment. IMHO, productivity gains
are and will be, for some time to come, a deciding factor in who are the
long term survivors of the transition to the "new economy".
Integrating Present Infrastructure
Your present infrastructure is your telephone system, all advertising and printed
materials, email (if you already have it but no web site), company policy and procedure
and customer service. You're probably wondering why I have mentioned company policy and
procedure in this list aren't you? Infrastructure is the tools or mediums you use to carry
out business. Since, policy and procedure are the rules that govern the use of these tools
it is of great importance. Not to mention the most cost effective method to reducing
Changes to Company Policy and Procedure
Moreso, then the actual tools themselves, when well thought out policy and procedures
aren't in place the tools are used improperly or not to their fullest potential. IWB did a
phone survey of companies and determined that this is where 90% of businesses are missing
the boat with their presence. Poorly trained staff with no understanding or interest in
the information they were providing.
Integrating the internet into the culture of any organization is tough because of
preconceived ideas of what the net is about. To some it is nerds and computer geeks
hanging out together plotting the takeover of the world. To others it is squinty eyed
perverts doing whatever at the local porno site. To still others it is crooks stealing
credit card numbers etc.
If you're reading this you are in the minority that realizes the net is quickly
becoming as much a part of society and doing business as the phone is. All of the above
are perpetuated by a media that sees the net as a threat and sensationalizes what are
comparatively small groups. They say it's so, so it must be true. Phooey!
Yes, porn is possibly the biggest seller on the net but this is more a symptom of the
current limitations to marketing then being a large group of users. These should be the
first concerns you address in your Information Meeting. Why? These misconceptions will
surface in their interaction with customers. Much like prejudice in a face to face
In the first article I suggest a meeting of department heads to ascertain problems and
how the net may be used to alleviate or assist in solving problems. The next step is to
allow the employees some input. Unbeknownst to you, your solutions may just shift the
problem elsewhere. Nobody is better suited to alert you to potential problems then the
people who are affected in their day to day duties.
IWB thought this out for a period of time and have come up with what we believe to be a
good solution. A general information meeting on the companies time! Not on the employees
time, but on your time. This will let the employees know that this is going to be an
integral part of the corporate culture and should not be taken lightly. Of paramount
importance is creating a feeling among the employees that you are encouraging feedback
into the uses and functions of the site to increase their productivity. A good side affect
of this should be a good knowledge of the site by your employees.
Why is the attitude of your staff towards your presence important? The most frequent
response of employees to questions about a site or email address during our research was
"not my department," or some variation on that theme. Is this any different then
an inquiry for information about the company phone number, products, or address? A
customer rep, receptionist or secretary that doesn't know your site inside out and is familiar with how to give the
address properly is rendering your presence useless! Not to mention what
some customers might