This past Sunday was a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride. The leaves were in full color and the temperature was in the low seventies. We stopped in Katonah, New York for lunch and then took a walk around the town. I don’t know how a small town can support two hardware stores within site of each other but they were both great stores. Hardware stores are among my favorite places. One of them had a room full of incredible collection of hinges and cabinet pulls. I was fascinated by one of them and went to the counter to ask where I could find the price. The answer was that the person who knows where the prices are is only in “Nine to Five, Monday to Friday”. The fact that the store was open at all on a Sunday is certainly a convenience but the idea that the prices of some things I may actually have bought were only available “Nine to Five, Monday to Friday” really a chord with me. Something I wrote quite a bit about in Net Attitude. I didn’t’t have hardware stores in mind at the time though.
The prior day (Saturday) I got an invoice from my insurance company for the premium on my home. Enclosed with the invoice was a notice that said that beginning next month there would be a fee imposed for anyone wanting to pay the premium in installments. They noted, however, that this could be avoided by using one of their new “auto-pay” options. To learn more about these new options I would just have to call their agent. The agent, of course, is available “Nine to Five, Monday to Friday”. Hmmm. Hardware stores are one thing but an insurance company in this day and age?
At least e-businesses on the Web are open around the clock. Not. A major travel site says the following: “Need help making a reservation online? If you still need assistance, call our Internet Help desk. We’re available to help you: Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, U.S. Central time – closed holidays.” When is it that busy people might have a bit of spare time to think about and plan some travel? Weekends? Holidays?
“Nine to Five, Monday to Friday” is a big problem. I am sure that like me you have a job and work “Nine to Five, Monday to Friday”. E-businesses need abandon the idea that their real hours of operation are “Nine to Five, Monday to Friday” and think about their customers or potential customers. That may mean having a work force that is available to be on call or chat lines at 3 AM Sunday or on a holiday. I suspect there are plenty of people who would be happy to do that as long as they could telecommute.
Some businesses may resist the idea of around the clock service and support. They may feel it is too costly or they may just be clinging to the habitual “normal” hours of operation. As more commerce moves to the Web, there is an opportunity to both expand business and reduce cost – if Net Attitude is well established! Much more about this in the book.