Peter Drucker believes ecommerce will be to Information Revolution what railroads were to Industrial Revolution.* To oversimplify, Industrial Revolution was a time in which tools were produced that replaced people in manufacture of goods. In first thirty years, all was devoted to producing known products with machines.
While there were drastic social changes with massive shift from rural to urban living, there was little change in products produced and purchased. They only became more readily available at ever more modest cost.
Only later did Industrial Revolution produce something new - railroads. For first time in history, people could readily move great distances inexpensively. (Hauling freight came much later.) Railroads brought a thirty year boom in Europe, and an even longer one in United States. While many other parts of world got started somewhat later, boom did not end for them until outbreak of World War I.
What Will Arise From The Information Revolution?
The parallels between Industrial and Information Revolutions are astonishing. Thus far computers, Web, and information technology have created nothing dramatically new. They have merely changed ways in which information is gathered, managed and reported. And to some extent, way in which consumers purchase goods.
Computers themselves have changed way in which products are manufactured, including their design. And a few new spinoffs have come to fore. But there has not been anything revolutionary in any of this. Nothing yet has had impact of railroads on whole of social fabric.
If Drucker is correct, ecommerce will have an impact equivalent to that of railroads earlier. Thus far Web has produced less change in way business is done than ore cars running on steel rails effected mining. In short, real drama and excitement is yet to be revealed.
Given easy access to Web, you and I have been invited to join in. For myself, I don't want to miss a beat.
A Radical Shift Is Upon Us
There appears to be an awesome and exciting shift emerging in way business is done. There are those who feel that if it's good for business, it's good. Period. I hold a different view: If it's not good for people, it's not good.
Many with a business orientation are likely to abandon my thinking here. Those convinced people are sheep born to be shorn certainly will. But whatever your view, enormous changes in way in which business is done are rushing down upon us. Companies who do not embrace them, will be swept away into history.
What Will Customer Service Come To Mean?
For example, automated telephone systems and elevator music will fade away, as will companies that cling to such barriers. People will not be content much longer, with clutching a phone to their ear, trying to accomplish some other task, while waiting for answer they need right now.
"The customer comes first" will remain driving force behind all successful businesses. Today, such phrases mumbled by all are generally mere tokenism. Tomorrow they will come to have an entirely new meaning.
Contemporary companies provide such services at their convenience. The endless round of voice mail and recordings in which busy people respond only to leave yet another message will come to a screeching halt. Successful companies will provide support when a customer requests it. And they will do so quickly.