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Chapter 2. What Customers Want > Customers and Organizations

Customers and Organizations

Now, having thought about what customers want to do on the Web, and the directives they might give us in providing what they want, we are faced with a very fundamental issue—customers and businesses don't necessarily want the same things. Businesses often want to create or change customer behavior. Businesses want to influence the services customers use in different situations and the way they use them. This may not always line up with what the customer is trying to do. While businesses can use Web sites as a means to influence e-customers, that influence should be in harmony with what e-customers are trying to do. When businesses try to explicitly mould a customer's Web site experience, contrary to a customer's natural expectations, it is seen as obtrusive and the customer becomes frustrated.

Conflict between business and e-customer goals becomes very apparent in cases where bricks-and-mortar companies begin to migrate some of their services online. Sometimes bricks-and-mortar companies will introduce new service processes and relationships on their Web site, and they can be contrary to what the customer normally experiences offline, and potentially expects online. This won't be a problem for bricks-and-mortar companies or their customers, as long as customers needs are recognized and the company works with customers to change service processes over time in a way that makes sense. If bricks-and-mortar companies are seen to immediately offer a lesser quality of service (through the absence of physical contacts and services, for example), then there will be a direct conflict between what companies and customers are trying to achieve.


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