Business & Finance
Commentary
11/1/2002
06:43 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
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Editor's Note: What More Are You Looking For?

Fresh or free -- coffee refills!" Hmmm. Is that a choice or a statement? Can I either have fresh coffee or free coffee, but not both? And, if it weren't fresh, would I really care if I could get stale coffee for free? OK, OK, I know what the sign outside the convenience store really meant -- if you don't think the coffee tastes good, they won't make you pay for it. It's a nice customer-service campaign that they hope will bring people into the store time and time again. I applaud that kind of customer touch even though it wasn't enough to lure me in (not like, say, a fresh and free, warm chocolate-iced doughnut would do), but it was a nice gesture anyway.

What would wow you? Perhaps it would be the ability to go into a local coffee shop and order a grande-skim-soy-caramel-half-caff-latte with extra foam and a dash of cinnamon and have the guy behind the counter know exactly what you want without you having to repeat it? Or maybe it's the ability to call your favorite sushi take-out place and the person on the other end of the phone knows you like eel maki without the avocado.

I'll stop here, before you start thinking I have pretentious food consumption habits. But that question of what wows you certainly applies to business technology today. In fact, it's a question Garland Hall, chief customer officer (I love that title!) for webMethods, often asks customers (we discussed this over some very good eel maki, by the way). I wouldn't doubt that any IT vendor today realizes that things that used to be perks are now check-off items--SLAs, lower prices, shorter licensing terms, ROI metrics. What more are you looking for? What wows you? I know Garland's asking the question, but are enough of your IT vendors asking it?

Stephanie Stahl
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com

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