Genii Weblog

Three ways IBM does well with ordering process

Wed 11 Mar 2009, 03:29 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
It may feel like my posts today were a bit harsh about IBM's process for ordering software, but I wanted to highlight three ways in which the process reflected well on IBM.  

1) Contact information for chat or e-mail  readily available

Almost every page which has anything to do with software includes a frame on the right side that looks like this:

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While I may have wanted to do all my ordering on-line, which is useful for buying an individual consumer item, it was reassuring to to note that I could always start a chat with a real live person, or initiate a contact through e-mail.  Microsoft, by comparison, does not provide any obvious way to talk or chat with a "real person".  If I were a SMB with fifty people looking to buy a server or two and a bundle of Notes/Domino, I'd be far more interested in this contact information and a live assistant than with a completely on-line focused ordering system.

2) A pop up asks if you need assistance if you wander about too much

I don't know the exact trigger, but each time I would start to wander from page to page trying to find the right information, a box would pop up asking if I'd like help.  You could tell it to go away, but like a store that actually tries to serve you, the feeling was left that you wouldn't have to just wander lost forever.

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3) IBM gives you the option of dealing with a business partner instead of directly with IBM

If you are General Motors, you may want to deal directly with IBM, but I appreciate that IBM even suggests an IBM partner before suggesting their own sale's rep.  It is a small thing, but important.  Microsoft certainly doesn't mention how you can buy through a partner.

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So, while I think IBM has some work to do with both ordering and searching, it has already taken some very important steps in making the process of ordering more useful and accessible.

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

799.1. W^L+
(03/15/2009 05:59 PM)

Pop-ups, and especially the layered pop-ups (inside the same page/window but in front of page content) tend to create too much stress for me. Better to put the "wanna chat?" in a box on the page where I can find it if I feel I need it.

Those customer service surveys so many sites use are layered pop-ups and they tend to drive me away.

Here's hoping that IBM and Microsoft (and Sun!) both take a fresh look at their sites to see how to make them easier to use.