Sorry for Any Inconvenience

So can someone explain to me when this simple phrase became a carte blanche license to totally screw your customers over without taking any responsibility?

I have recently been re-scheduled for a Dr’s appointment for the 3rd time. This last time I was given less than 24 hours notice. If I were to do that to my Dr, I would be charged a fee for the appointment. It apparently seems OK for them to do that to me without any form of compensation other than “Sorry for the Inconvenience”.

I have long been a proponent of public health care and have not had the experiences that many people claim to have for long wait times and bad service. On the contrary, I have almost always had exceptional service and care from the nurses and Dr’s that have treated me and my family. We are all entitled to a bad day so I attribute the few occasions where a care professional was not as friendly as I would have liked to them just having such a day.

All this being said, simply re-scheduling an appointment and arbitrarily choosing a new date and time is NOT convenient and I DON’T accept you ‘apology’ for the inconvenience.

Mr Dr, When I choose a date and a time to make myself available that aligns with your schedule, I keep my commitment and arrange any subsequent meetings, appointments, etc around this time.

Mr Dr, it is not the most convenient journey for me to come to your office but for the sake of my health and to keep marital bliss, I make the time and commitment. Is it too much for you to do the same?

This goes for all the other services and companies that feel it’s OK to make changes to appointments, schedules, terms and conditions, etc…

IT’S NOT OK!

Your responsibility to your customers is the key differentiator between you and your competition. If you choose to screw over your existing customers for your convenience then expect to lose customers to your competitors.

In today’s economy and the growing competitive nature of many businesses, you cannot afford to be so glib and careless with the most valuable source of your survival.

Too often, companies and services forget that the very customers that they take for granted are the lifeblood of the organization and without them they would cease to exist.  It’s time for consumers to bring back the old adage ‘Customer is KING’ and brand it on their forehead for all to see.  There are good reasons why small local businesses stay in business year after year even when faced with stiff competition from major corporations.  These small businesses understand who they are there to serve and they make damned sure that they treat their customers with the utmost respect and dignity.  It’s what pays the bills.

Next time you feel that you are not getting the service or the product that you are paying for, SPEAK UP!  You will continue to be dis-satisfied unless you make a change.

Gotta go now.  The Dr’s office is calling to re-schedule.

The Success of Failure

This is one of many posts that have been sitting unfinished in my Drafts folder for months but I was inspired Monday night by a great presentation from Peter Flaschner on the power of Passion.

I had the opportunity on Monday night to attend a great series of presentations at Refresh Events here in Toronto.  The main presentation was on Passion and how we need to embrace and nurture our passions to achieve greatness. While I do have a draft post about Passion, that’s not the focus of this post. (I’ll procrastinate on that one for another day)

Have you ever failed at something? Was it a small failure or a Huge Gigantic failure for all to see?

Failure can be an embarrassing and humiliating thing. It can cause humiliation and anxiety which can have detrimental effects on ones health. These effects fall under my categorization of bad things.  There is another side to all this failure that falls under the category of good things.

While our initial response to failure is a universal desire that a hole would open up in the floor and take us away from the situation, the real benefit from failure is embracing it and feeling the moment and making the failure a positive and great learning experience.

When you fail, it’s not necessarily about you.  It is often not a personal thing and has no bearing on you as a person so it’s important to not take failures personally. There are always exceptions and you will have to be the judge of when a failure may be personal and figure out the lesson you need to take away from it.

What is failure anyway, why do we fail? Many times, failure is a result of pushing the envelope. I watched a video produced by Honda where Indy car driver Danica Patrick explained how as a race car driver, she is trained to bump up against the outer limits of her comfort zone on a consistent basis to expand her ability to succeed.  Sometimes this can result in spectacular failure for all to see but without that push to achieve greatness, she would not be able to win Indy car races.  This is especially significant because she is a Woman competing in a sport that has been dominated by Men for as long as automobile racing has been around and has had to work harder to earn the respect of her fellow drivers.  It has paid off.

Failure is not a bad thing as long as you learn from it.  Albert Einstein said “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you fail at something, be sure to learn from the failure so that you can try again and do it differently.  A fantastic example of this lesson comes from Thomas Edison who, when asked about failing so many times in his pursuit of a better filament for the light bulb said “I have not failed 10 000 times. I have successfully found 10 000 ways that will not work” (accounts of this statement vary but the general message is the same)

When we fail, it is in our best interest to examine the failure and determine the cause of the failure and learn to not make the same mistake again. True greatness comes from people who take the risks and take the chances that no one else has the courage to take.  When combined with personal belief and passion it can be an empowering and powerful thing.  I can’t think of a more appropriate example of this than Walt Disney.  When Walt had his idea for a theme park, he went looking for financing.  He approached the banks, which were all independent at the time, for money. Walt Disney was ridiculed.  The banks told him he was crazy but he had a vision.  He was persistent. He learned what resonated with the bankers and what didn’t. He would not take no for an answer.  Walt Disney was turned down 302 times and went bankrupt 5 times before he was able to convince a bank to lend him the money for Disney world.  He didn’t let small failures stand in his way. (accounts of this story vary but the general message is the same)  Today, Disney is a multinational corporation which generates more than 30 billion in revenue annually.

The other thing to remember is that you are the determining factor in your own success and that nobody can tell you that you are a failure with any authority unless you give them that power.  Some of the most successful people were branded failures by people in positions of authority at one point in their lives.

  • Albert Einstien – didn’t speak until he was 4 years old, never graduated from high school and failed his college entrance exam
  • Beethoven – His music teacher said “As a composer, he’s hopeless”
  • Isaac Newton – Was considered ‘unpromising’ by his teachers
  • Thomas Edison – Was called ‘stupid’ and ‘addled’  by his elementary school teacher
  • F.W. Woolworth – was told by an employer that he “didn’t have the sense to close a sale”
  • Michael Jordan – was cut from his sophomore basketball team
  • Walt Disney – was fired from a newspaper job because he “didn’t have any creative ideas”
  • Winston Churchill – failed grade 6
  • Babe Ruth – struck out at bat over 1300 times
  • Soichiro Honda – was rejected for a job as an engineer at Toyota after WWII

It would have been easy for these amazing people to wallow in their failures, surrender their power and go on to achieve nothing more than mediocrity but they took these events that would be seen as failures by most of us and used them as a catalyst to strive for great success.

The real lesson here is that every failure is an opportunity to grow and learn and try again.

If you have not failed, you have not explored your boundaries to find your limits.
If you have not failed, you have not grown.
If you have not failed, you have not lived.

Failure is a fact of life and true living involves risk.

Here is a great video produced by Honda on Failure and Success.  I hope it inspires you to reach beyond your boundaries and fail so you can grow to achieve greatness.

So what are you going to succeed at tomorrow?

Just a note on overcoming failure.  We are all different and overcoing failure may not be as simple as ‘just get over it and move on’. Sometimes failure can lead to depression which is a very real medical condition.  If you feel that you fall into this category, there is help available that may involve medicaton or psychological assistance.  Speak to your Doctor.

Striving for Change

Last week I had the opportunity to do an Ignite presentation that the Phase 2 launch of MEIC where I was talking about Operator Developer Networks.  To most, a talk about developer networks is a pretty dry subject but my goal was to illustrate that there is opportunity to effect a positive change within the Canadian operator community.

I work for Rogers in a strategy role where I have an opportunity to be a change agent and I feel pretty fortunate to be in such a role.

The gist of the presentation was that we as operators must do more to help developers be successful.

  • We must enable access to network capabilities through easy to use abstraction layers.
  • We must stop treating developers like second class citizens and relegating them to the cesspool.
  • We must provide developers with a mechanism that enables easy access to these enablers and not place undue burden on them if they want to explore.
  • We must provide information that helps them understand the services that are available and examples of how to use them.
  • We must provide tools to developers that help them become successful in business and show them ways to create and grow a business.
  • We must provide ways that allow a developer to become a partner in business and empower them to explore new ways of generating income for their business.
  • Operators must work together to enable intercarrier functionality that will help drive uptake of new services and create new opportunities.

The crux of all this is that Operators need to change.  They have traditionally been seen as stodgy, outdated and disconnected from the very subscribers they serve.  Believe me when I say that there is far more concern for the happiness of the consumer than operators get credit for.  Operators don’t make it any easier with the customer ‘experiences’ that are often had during calls to client care but that does not mean they are not trying.  There’s still room for improvement for sure.

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to speak with some developers about the changes that I’m discussing here and the response has been consistent. “Really??!” “You guys??!” “I never thought I’d see that”  Basically developers have been shocked to hear that we are working to effect this change.

I have included the presentation below.

Please let me know your thoughts in Comments.

Chris

From the Inside Out

This week I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by Bruce Temkin of Forrester Research who was presenting some perspectives on Optimizing Customer Experience in a Difficult Economy.

Bruce is a tireless advocate of customer experience and is visibly passionate that companies can and must do more to provide a good experience to earn, customer loyalty.

It was refreshing to hear that some people out there are still beating the drum for good customer experiences and actively promoting this philosophy to corporations.  It would be very easy and typical to point a finger at the big corporation in the big office tower and say “they don’t care about the customer“.  I’ve done it myself and I’m sure at one point or another you have said or at the very least, thought the same thing about a company you have dealt with.  Bruce wants to change all that.  From the inside out.

In a difficult economy where customers must be more critical of their spending choices, it is vitally important that they not have any reason to look elsewhere for services or products that you offer because of some less than stellar customer experience.  The principles behind a good customer experience are as fundamental as kindergarten.  Be Honest, Be Respectful and Be Kind.  Customer experience Obviously is more than just being a good person and I may have oversimplified it just a bit but by listening to Bruce he very clearly articulated some fundamental core principals that companies seem to have forgotten.

Small businesses and Mom & Pop type of operations generally have it right.  Treat the customer right and do whatever it takes to make them happy while not harming your business.  These businesses have not lost sight of the fact that they are there to serve the needs of their customers and they will only survive if the needs are continuously met.  They get to know their customers by talking to them and building a bond with them. They rely on repeat business to ensure they stay in business and they rely on new business to ensure they have an opportunity to grow.  The best way to do that is to satisfy your existing customers above and beyond what they would expect.  They will be so satisfied that they will tell their friends about it.

Feedback from the people who give you business is crucial.  Encourage your customer base to call you out when they think you are doing something wrong.  It gives them a stake in the game and makes them feel more valued that they have an opportunity to contribute.  This does not mean that you need to try and resolve every complaint that a customer has or try to satisfy every single issue, especially if it damages your business plans.  It does provide you with an opportunity to take the pulse of the customer by finding out what the next big issues will be.  Many small complaints of a similar nature are symptoms of an impending big issue.  When you have a complaint about your body you go see a doctor to get it looked at because if you ignore it you could get sick and it has the potential to get serious if you continue to ignore it.  Same principal here.  Listen to the complaints and look at them with a critical eye to see if it is a bump that will go away or a cut that will get infected.  Deal appropriately.

Think about the last time you had an outstanding customer service experience.  Was it a Small business or Major corporation?  Did it seem Honest or Forced?  Did you tell anyone about it?  I am hard pressed to remember a great customer experience outside of the restaurant business.  I may be a bit biased since I spent more than 13 years of my life in the restaurant industry and it will always be in my blood so when customer experience is the topic I use it as a benchmark.  The impact of customer service in a restaurant is immediate.   Staff in a restaurant are incentivized to provide a great experience and they have complete control of that opportunity to impress.  A good server realizes this and can make your night.  You will go back because you were made to feel valued.  Successful restaurant organizations realize this and spend the time and effort to train their people.  Large corporations hire the masses and push them through the training mill to create good little automatons with very little knowledge or understanding of the product or services they are selling beyond what they need to know for basic ‘customer service’.  These automatons rarely think outside the box or prepared script and are not incented to do so.  Turnover is high in these types of organizations and the cycle repeats itself until you have the lowest motivated common denominator working to represent your organization.  The ones who are motivated either work up through the ranks or realize that they are in a bleak and dreary place and move on.  The least motivated will just stick around breeding contempt and dragging the organization down with it.

If you are in this place then WAKE UP.  Your business has a curable disease that must be dealt with.  You can either cut it out by cleaning house or you can provide some medicine through motivation and re-training.  Either action will cause change to help bring you business back on the right path to recovery.

It is not a simple thing to keep your workforce motivated.  It takes a significant amount of effort to make them want to do a good job.  The larger an organization, the harder it becomes to manage as the complexities of personal interaction can very easily spiral out of control.  The term ‘Drinking The Koolaid‘ comes to mind.  It is increasingly difficult to get buy-in from today’s workforce.  There is general apathy towards jobs that require customer interaction and an increased rejection of authoritarian organizational rules that don’t demonstrate any sense of logic.  Today’s workforce is not stupid.  They know how to connect the dots and are eager to provide insight and feedback.  They WANT to do a good job and are WILLING to do so when an organization can walk the talk.   Organizations must engage their workforce and empower them to make every customer interaction a good and positive one.  Even if their issue was not resolved, the customer should leave feeling that they were treated with respect and all possible effort was made to help them.  They will come back again.  Get your workforce to Drink the Koolaid and they will work tirelessly to promote the company and defend it at any opportunity.  Empower them with a sense of pride.

Good team performance comes from the top.  The effectiveness of the management team of an organization can be tested by speaking with a low to mid level employee in a typical job such as a call center or a sales position.  Ask them some basic things:  What are the company objectives this year?  What are the goals of your department?  How does your job contribute to these goals?  Do you know the reporting structure from your boss right up the the CEO? Every employee should have a clear understanding of these goals and objectives and know how they are contributing.  If they can’t answer any of these simple questions then there is a serious problem with the sharing of information.  This needs to be fixed because if these people at the lowest level of an organization don’t understand how they are contributing, how do you expect them to care about their job?

All these points have been very elegantly summed up by Bruce by his definition of Experience-Based Differentiation

  1. Obsess about customer needs, not product features. Rather than racing to bring new product features to market, companies need to refocus on the needs of their customers — who might even want fewer features. While most firms have invested in customer analytics, even the largest data warehouse and most sophisticated software can’t model the nuances of human likes and needs. That’s why firms should augment data crunching with some old-fashioned techniques like talking to customers and observing their experience. This insight needs to be widely communicated across the organization.
  2. Reinforce brands with every interaction, not just communications. Traditional brand messaging is losing its power to influence consumers — that’s why branding efforts need to expand beyond marketing communications to help define how customers should be treated. To master EBD, firms must articulate their brand attributes to both customers and employees, clearly describing how the firm wants to be viewed. That’s just the first step, because companies must go on to translate brand attributes into requirements for how they’ll interact with customers.
  3. Treat customer experience as a competence, not a function. Delivering great customer experiences isn’t something that a small group of people can do on their own — everyone in the company needs to be fully engaged in the effort. It all starts at the top; the CEO and his executive team need to be fully engaged in the effort. To keep a companywide focus on customers, companies need a systematic and continuous approach for incorporating customer insights into all of their efforts. That’s why we recommend building a voice-of-the-customer program. (Note from Bruce: voice-of-the-customer is another hazy concept out there – that’s why we defined a five level model for voice-of-the customer; we’ll definitely touch on that topic in later posts.)

Bruce reminded me that we can all do better. No company is so good that they can’t do a better job of customer service.  It is a never ending process.

Take some time to visit Bruce’s Blog here.  While you’re there, be sure to download his free ebook ‘The 6 Laws of Customer Experience“.

Excuse me while I fill out this comment card.

It’s a Twitter Reality

Do you twitter?

No I’m not a perv.  For the uninitiated, twittering is the next/most recent incarnation of communication.

How does one explain twitter?  Have you ever been to a party or a gathering and had a multitude of conversations going on around you and been following and participating in them too?  Imagine doing that with a much larger group of people all over the world in almost real time.  Twitter allows you to follow or be followed by anybody who uses Twitter.  As a user, you make small posts in 140 characters or less that provide some form of update, question, comment, response, etc…  You can post your updates from a mobile phone using text messaging, or a mobile twitter client. You can also submit a twitter update (called a tweet) from the Twitter website or a desktop twitter client on your computer.

In a nutshell, Twitter is cool.

Twitter provides you with an ability to reach out and to interact with ANYONE famous or otherwise.  For example, some of the famous people I follow on twitter are:

I have sent messages to many of them and in some cases have received a response.  I don’t expect a response from celebrities because of the sheer number of people who may be responding to them at any given time so it’s pretty cool when I do get one.  By following a celebrity you have ‘unlisted’ opportunities to interact with them.  Recently Levar Burton was waiting for his plane in Phoenix and posted a tweet to anyone who was available and in the airport that they could join him for drinks.  Unless you were following Levar on twitter, you would not have that opportunity.  Kind of like a secret club.  That’s cool

Twitter also allows you to ‘meet’ all kinds of people in your area whom you may have never met otherwise.  By following some people that my friends follow, I have been able to build a unique twitter feed of some very dynamic and interesting people.  My world has been expanded by simply following what these people talk about and seeing what they do.  There are only a couple of degrees separating us all and I feel like I have grown simply by being able to participate in their communications.  I have been able to lend ‘quit smoking’ support to someone I have never physically met.  I originally typed strangers but they don’t seem like such strangers since I’ve been interacting with them.  Looking at you brundle_fly 😉

Twitter has also illustrated some interesting ways of connecting the dots on who knows who.  I had an opportunity to meet Tom Purves at a social ‘x-camp’ gathering last year.  Being in the wireless industry, it was great to meet the guy behind Wirelessnorth.ca.  Late last year, I received an email about an event being hosted a Ontario College of Art and Design for the launch of the Mobile Experience Innovation Center (MEIC) but was unable to attend due to short notice.  I was able to find out that Michelle Perras was the co-ordinator for this initiative and started communicating with her via email and phone.  I have never met Michelle in person.  I follow both Tom and Michelle on twitter and was able to connect the dots that they both live with the same dog.  A very cute dog named Dingo.  This type of connection may have eventually come out during a conversation far down the road but by following the threads on twitter it presented itself with very little effort.  That’s cool.

Twitter has also provided an opportunity to discover and see the birth of some very exciting grassroots events organized by some pretty motivated and smart people.  A couple of these events/initiatives are listed here.

There are many other events that are ad-hoc or focused in nature and by participating in twitter with some of these people I have been able to watch them emerge.  HOHOTO was a hugely successful event last Christmas that went from ideation to full event execution in a matter of weeks with an initial goal of raising a few thousand dollars for The Daily Bread Food bank but with an ultimate total of $25000 raised.  This event was started entirely on twitter and participation was voluntary and the efforts of the many participants helped to organically pull together a massively successful event in record time.  Twitter provides an opportunity to expand your perspective that otherwise would not have been possible or at the very least, a difficult endeavor.

What do you/will you twitter about?

Who do you/will you follow?

Who follows/will follow you?

What are you waiting for? First Hit’s Free. (it’s always free)

  • Twitter.com – The main twitter site where you can register for your free account.
  • tweetdeck– Desktop twitter client
  • twhirl– Desktop twitter client.
  • spaz– Desktop twitter client.

You can follow me on Twitter here

Freedom Boxes

Do you know anyone who is the proud owner of some shiny new Freedom Boxes?

There is no easy way to prepare for being laid off.

It just happens and all of a sudden you are without work.  Sure, they try to make it better for you by saying things like “It’s nothing personal, we had to make some tough decisions.”

It starts with a simple “can you come into my office?” and there is someone in there that you have never met looking a little too comforting. “Please close the door, Have a seat” then the rest goes by in the blink of an eye.  BLAM! Blindsided.  You have been voted off the island and before you know it you are back at your desk with your new ‘Friend’ from the HR services company who is giving you your Freedom Boxes to pack up your stuff.

This has been happening around our offices over the past couple of weeks and there have been a lot of people laid off. In our department alone, of about 60, we lost 8 ppl.  The morning it happened, we could tell who had been affected because there were 2 neatly stacked Freedom Boxes at their desks.  Kindly placed there by the HR consultancy people who are managing the whole process.

It is a horrible thing to have happen and to see happen.  It’s kind of like the death march when your co-workers are summarily walked out of the building after they have been given an opportunity to pack their new Freedom Boxes.  It is rather embarrassing for all concerned.   Especially for the person who has been let go.

It would be very easy to wallow in self pity for the next few days, weeks, months… but the reality is that if this has happened to you, then you have been given a chance to start fresh.  This is your opportunity. It is not often in life that you have an opportunity to have enough money to live on for a number of months with no specific work obligation while you explore the opportunites that you have been ignoring for so long.

While this is of little solace to those of you still in the self pity phase, take solace that in these unfortunate times you are not alone and the social stigma of losing your job is not as significant as it would be if financial times were all bread and roses.  There are people you know who are in the same boat as you.  People you know directly, people you know through friends, through friends of friends, etc…   The point is that you are not alone.  If you sit in your pity pool too long then you will be alone because all your friends will be out looking for new opportunities.

“What do I do?” you ask.  Well, I put it to you, What would you do if you had no obstacles?  You are in an obstacle free zone right now.  Take advantage of it.  This does not give you the opportunity to take a vacation.  It does not give you the opportunity to buy that new big screen TV.  It does give you the opportunity to take a course.  Go back to school, learn to weld, become a carpenter, learn how to sell on Ebay, master your Knitting skills, etc…  Whatever you have been wanting to do in your life for a long time but felt your job and the obligations of work were holding you back, well now is the time.

Break free.

Many people feel that there is a universal energy.  (I’m going to get all metaphysical on you here so bear with me for a minute.)  You get what you want.  I can hear you now. “What the F#@& does he mean by THAT!” I mean, that if you put out the message that you want to move on from your job then that is exactly what will happen.  That is the message you are sending to your co-workers, your managers, your boss, the universe, to yourself.  This will be reflective in the way that you work.  You won’t be putting your full effort in. You will be biding your time until you either quit or get fired.  This has been a message that I have personally seen over and over in friends and co-workers.  When asked afterward about how they felt, a good many of them said they felt ‘Relieved‘ because they were thinking about quitting anyway and this just forced them to move their ass.

This is the Universe, Life, Kicking you firmly in the ass and telling you to do something that means something to you.  It does not have to mean anything to anybody else but you.  If your life dream is to be a street sweeper then go and be the best damned street sweeper that you can be.  If you have always wanted to become a widget maker then follow your dream.  Be the best damned widget maker that the world has ever seen.

At the end of the day, they only person you have to answer to is you (and the minister of domestic affairs) so be the best that you can be and the rest will fall into place.

Tell the Universe what you want and with a little luck, the universe will deliver.

Embrace your Freedom Boxes

Canadian Tire FAIL

With very little fanfare or notification, Canadian Tire, a Canadian Institution for going on 87 years, put a notice on thier website that they would be ceasing all internet sales activity on January 29th 2009.

On it’s own, this is a non-remarkable announcement.  Put into context of the current state of the global economy, the trend to move toward internet sales and the sheer massive distribution capabilities of this home service giant, this becomes a rather remarkable announcement.

From where I sit (and this is my blog so I can sit wherever I want) I see massive loss of opportunity here that Canadian Tire seems to be giving up.

I’m sure they have had a long and hard look at the numbers and the effort required to run an online shopping experience.  They probably had a lot of high priced consultants come in and run various scenarios and advise that there was limited opportunity given the current economic downturn in the marketplace and that the best option was to abandon the online store (because someone on high really ultimately wanted to hear that message).

Lets take a look at some of the outsiders viewpoints and see if they make any sense shall we?

Managing product in a warehouse or via drop shipping is a more cost effective means of managing margin.  There is no need to do massive distribution chain to stores for products sold online as they can be shipped from the warehouse or direct from the manufacturer if the model allows.  Look at Amazon.  Do you think they keep millions of copies of titles in stock?  Nope.  They keep a few in stock and request more from the printer or publisher when they are required.  They have centralized distribution and warehousing to facilitate easier pack and pick operations and aggregated shipping.  Now I’m not saying that Canadian tire is Amazon but there are opportunites to learn from the likes of Amazon to build a more efficient distribution model for online sales.

Canadian Tire did little in the way of driving customers to the website.  A little footnote at the bottom of the page on a flyer is insufficient to advise subscribers that they can buy online.  There was also no incentive to purchase online.  I can’t recall ever seeing a “Web Only” deal that required a customer to purchase an item through the website to get some great deal.  Most successful online store have a daily door crasher that can only be purchased from the web.  Dell, Newegg, Home Depot, The Source, The Bay, FutureShop, Best Buy, etc… It keeps people coming back for more.  Canadians love a good deal and with Canadian Tire’s penchant for taking that 3000 piece socket set that you absolutely must have and marking it down by 75% to the low low price of $67.95 there had to be some opportunity to leverage this daily deal mania.

Canadian Tire also did something that most people (at least in the online community) feel is an act of cowardice.  They did not issue a press release or notify the media, they simply and quietly put a page on their site advising anyone who happened to click on it that this action was happening in a matter of weeks.  This type of approach to online marketing and treating your online customers with little respect is probably the main reason that the online store concept failed at Canadian Tire.  They just didn’t *get* the opportunity.  They assumed, like most noobs, that if you put the page up, people will automatically flock to it ‘For Great Justice’ (sorry, got a little ‘All Your Base…’  there).  This is a rookie mistake and one that should have been dealt with a little more effectively by a company with the pedigree of Canadian Tire.  They didn’t give the online store the proper care and feeding that it required to flourish and become a great presence in Canadian Online Retail.

There are many opportunities for companies with an online presence to advertise such presence via traditional media to drive traffic.  The old guard at Canadian Tire forgot to include the online presence in these media spots when placing the million dollar ad buy’s.  I guess that Canadian Tire did what so many Canadian companies are so great at.  They built a great product/service but didn’t tell anyone about it and then stood by scratching thier heads wondering why it was not a great success.

Here is my view of this act of cowardice as told by the fine cast of Zero Wing . The names have been changed to include… You 🙂

Computer: Main screen turn on.
You: It’s you !!
CT.com: How are you gentlemen !!
CT.com: All your base are belong to us.
CT.com: You are on the way to destruction.
You: What you say !!
CT.com: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CT.com: Ha ha ha ha ….

Sorry couldn’t resist.  It just seemed to fit.

Matthew Ingram said it best on Twitter today ‘I love how Can Tire tries to sell it “You’ve told us how great we are… so we’re making our site even less useful”

For those of you who are interested, Here is a screengrab of the impending shutdown notice.

Captured from Canadian Tire Website Jan 21, 2009

Captured from Canadian Tire Website Jan 21, 2009

have to go and see how I’m stocked for Socket Sets.  I think I’m running a bit low.

Update Jan 21:added image of Can Tire message. fixed typo’s