Remember when buying a car meant torturous cat-and-mouse games with the dealership? You had to leave the lot (or at least pretend to) in order to get the best price. The dealer would run back and forth to his manager (or at least pretend to) in order to get you “a deal.” Who would have envisioned the day when we’d see “no haggle” pricing, and you could drive home a new car without ever visiting a showroom? It’s yet another seismic shift in the human condition engendered by the Internet, not to mention an enormous challenge to anyone with something to market and sell.
Current research indicates that when a prospective customer contacts a company with intent to buy a product or service, that person is already 70 percent along the way to making a purchase. They self-educate, conducting online research, reading peer and expert reviews, querying experienced users in affinity-group chat rooms, evaluating specifications and options, narrowing the field of vendors and determining what they are willing to pay.
This is how people consume today. Vendors either provide the information people want, in the form they want it, at the time they need it, by the means they choose, or they look elsewhere. In a flash.
Having never been one of those “build it and they will come” enterprises, Peak 10 has grown its business by remaining close to its customers and shifting marketplace dynamics. Adjusting to buyer preferences and anticipating customer needs is standard operating procedure.
For example, we recently launched an online cloud configurator on the Peak 10 website. This is a new tool designed to introduce people to our Enterprise Cloud service without them having to leave their offices (or homes), interact with a person, or offer up any personal information. They can get a feel for our different cloud options, configuration choices, common configurations by use case and, most importantly, pricing. If they like what they see they can submit and order. Then and only then will they talk with an engineer who will confirm their order, ensure their configurations for their application and begin the provisioning process.
If they don’t like what they see or if there is anything that is unclear, they can initiate an on-line chat or phone call with an engineer who will walk them through their options, and explain why Peak 10 is different. It’s pretty slick. You should try it.
This is the first of many new capabilities and services that we’ll launch in 2014 to enhance the customer experience. Stay tuned.