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Growth in Personalization and Business

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The mass production age does not deter increases in personalizing goods, services, and delivery that build customer satisfaction and loyalty. Business growth with a concierge-like quality can result from: a business composed of interchangeable parts, more knowledgeable employees, orders that better match needs, and personal availability. Why? Customer and employee loyalties to firms and stores can greatly increase if subjective evaluations conclude opportunity costs and benefits are maximized for all; choices and feedback can be better assessed.

If businesses are mindful that a fulfillment is a multiway street between employer, employees, and customers, they will personalize their relationship in this age of computers, brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and the numerous regulations blending new and old industries in a "Kondratieff wave" for new innovations in the traditional business cycles.

John W. Kendrick of George Washington University and I both realize the potential in productivity growth by considering the importance of real income and Satisfaction Quotients (SQs). As discussed in [2], SQs provide a metric useful to define one-to-one relationships relative to the market and the full personal income of individuals. Further, customer SQs in our expanding markets during this long U.S. economic upswing are now exceeding 3% annually. This has a direct impact on one-to-one business opportunities.

Companies and their employees are actively developing new business models and customer interfaces on the Internet. The growth of personalized services and goods in the virtual store is both attractive and necessary. We are just beginning to understand these new business models and how they will impact both the employee and the customer. A recent report from Forrester [1] examines the range of different goals being sought by various firms with their e-business/e-commerce customer interfaces on the Internet. Some of the results indicate businesses are learning to use personalization service features as a way to make a Web site easier to use, increase sales, create a one-to-one experience, improve customer service, save customer time, increase customer loyalty, attract a broader audience, achieve cost savings, target advertising, and build a community.

Having met Orville Wright a couple of times in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio while delivering newspapers, I often think of his comment about why they did not need an earth-bound monument to their achievements: "Just look upwards." This is what businesses need to do with raising employees’ customer service commitments and their customers’ loyalties. They are more than employees’ numbers or sales slips.

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    1. Hagen, H. and Souza, R. Smart personalization. The Forrester Report (July 1999).

    2. Kendrick, J.W. and Kendrick, J.B. Personal Productivity: How to Increase Your Satisfaction in Living. M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, N.Y., 1988.

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