Published in InformationWeek
by Ben Kepes
The Amazon experience isn’t just for consumer-facing applications. Imagine what it can do for a traditional company.
It’s always nice to hear from an end-user of technology products that I’ve been writing about for years. While it is squarely in the job description of a vendor’s marketing executive to articulate just how perfect their solution is pumping up the customer experience with SPS and Kenandy every possible use case, actual customers tend to be more circumspect and to only wax poetic about the solutions that actually deliver benefits to them. And so, I’m always interested in hearing from these end users and exploring how their particular solution-set meets there needs.
And so it is with Service Pump & Supply, a West Virginia-based company that sells motors, pumps, and accessories to a sector that, let’s face it, is often viewed as an old-school industry — oil and gas, coal and mining companies. While this is one business that many would categorize as “boring,” that doesn’t mean in any way that it’s an unimportant one. Indeed, SPS got a call a few days after Hurricane Irma to ship a bunch of pumps down to Florida to help with cleanup, a critical part of the chain of relief.
Anyway, despite being a traditional business, SPS is well aware that the times are changing and had a desire to offer its customers a new type of experience, one which they might be used to with their consumer experiences, but not one they traditionally think of coming from their more conventional suppliers.
The CEO of SPS, Patrick Farrell, recognized this subtle demand for “Amazon-like” experiences and decided to jump on that demand to gain a competitive advantage. He could see the writing on the wall — his customers wanted simple processes, instant help, user-friendly technology, access to historical data for purchasing decisions, low prices, and instant or rapid delivery of products/equipment. The fact that customers were ordering pumps and motors didn’t deter them from wanting slick and sophisticated technology interfaces from their vendors. It’s not just the hip millennials who want experiences that are as easy as those with their favorite social network. Read the full story »