Since returning from the UK, I've been massively underwhelmed with
the way Australian business has embraced the Internet. While most
companies now have web sites, they're invariable brochureware of the
1998 variety. Things really haven't moved on yet, even in industries
that aren't that complex.
I tried multiple times to move my gas an electricity services to
new suppliers online, to either reach an email form or to submit my
request only for... absolutely nothing to happen.
The big retailers tend to have little more than (clunky) store
finder and links to PDFs of their latest catalogues, and nothing like
a comprehensive listing of their products.
It's really quite disappointing that things have stagnated so
much. So it was refreshing when recently I experienced amazing
online customer service from a very unlikely service.
As we're buying a house, I ordered a catalogue of fruit trees from
Daleys based up in Kyogle
near the Queensland border. The extensive catalogue arrived, with the
latest availability listing and prices, a couple of days later. So
far so impressive.
A week or so later, I get an email from them checking it arrived
and asking if I have any questions. So I ask a few questions about
suitability for the Sydney climate and planting times, and get a
response shortly afterwards. The exchanges were all tracked in a
ticketing system (I'm guessing something like RT from the format) so the
conversation will be archived, they can have escalation procedures to
enforce service levels. Amazing!
This from a tiny tree nursery business run from the hippy-heavy
Northern NSW hinterlands. They've got all the ingredients for
brilliant customer service: good infrastructure, a simple business
model, enthusiastic staff and a basic CRM system. Hippies. Northern
NSW. Tree farmers.
So what the hell is wrong with Australia's big companies?