Getting to Know You

25. Februar 2002
Von Meridith Levinson
Personalisierte Websites, so lautete das Versprechen vor einigen Jahren, steigern die Kundenzufriedenheit und tragen zu einem höheren Umsatz bei. Produkte von der Stange haben hier enttäuscht. Mit selbstentwickelter Technik und Kenntnis der eigenen Kundschaft erzielen drei Firmen bemerkenswerte Erfolge.

Quelle: CIO USA

Remember all those big promises the dotcoms made about being able tomarket to their customers on a one-to-one basis? All thatfancy-schmancy personalization technology they had behind theirwebsites was supposed to make it happen. They would track theircustomers' every click, purchase and page view and then makerecommendations about what books, CDs and clothes their customersshould buy. As we all know, personalization technology didn't pay offin time to save dotcoms' skins.

In fact, personalization has been the Web's biggest unfulfilledpromise, at least so far. It has disappointed companies and consumersalike for several reasons. first of all, efforts that many companiestout as personalization are really just exercises in simplisticcustomer segmentation. Just because a letter from a bank about a homeequity loan is addressed to "Dear Meridith Levinson" instead of "DearValued Customer" doesn't mean it's tailored to Meridith's needs,especially when she is single, rents an apartment and doesn't need a$20,000 credit line. That is an instance of a bank segmenting anindividual into some category of customer it deems worthy of a homeequity loan. Neither the bank nor the consumer wins in this situation;the bank doesn't sell a home equity loan, and the customer doesn't getoffered the Roth IRA she really wants.

The second reason personalization hasn't lived up to expectations isbecause off-the-shelf personalization technologies focus on givingcustomers specific recommendations based on what they've bought in thepast. And those recommendations don't differentiate between gifts andpersonal purchases. If Dad, who usually buys classic rock CDs forhimself, purchases a Korn album for his 12-year-old son, he may startgetting recommendations for grunge every time he logs in. And that'sjust annoying. By contrast, when a customer patronizes abrick-and-mortar store, he can get sensible recommendations oneverything from house paint to upholstery swatches by simply asking aclerk. And it takes a lot less time.

Despite such disappointing outcomes, there are a handful of companiesthat understand the essence of personalization and are doing it right.They realize it's about determining a customer's unique needs andoffering products and services that satisfy him. For instance, at SanFrancisco-based, a Procter & Gamble spinoff, women cancustomize cosmetics, moisturizers, cleansers, shampoos andconditioners that best suit their skin and hair care needs. And ifyou're fed up with Weight Watchers and the Atkins' diets, essentiallyone-size-fits-all regimes, offers weight loss and fitnessplans tailored to your individual activity level, dietary preferences,medical history and emotional needs.

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