Even before the average business person or private consumer started using the Internet en masse to conduct daily business, we were being bombarded, even in the late 1980s, by a fair amount of new technologies that were designed to simplify our lives, even make them more fulfilling.
What Naisbitt spoke about was the growing awareness that merchants and other providers of high-tech toys and services were cutting their clients short when it came to the notion of customer service. We have all experienced feeling very alone due to one of two recurring scenarios related to customer support: either having difficulty reaching support staff or, worse, reaching merchant support staff that could not help because they themselves were not trained on the nuances of the product.
The author of the phrase "high-tech, high touch" felt strongly even in 1988 that companies that sell the latest gadgets and services and who did not provide intuitive, easy-to-use access methods that led to human contact by friendly and knowledgeable support staff would suffer long-term loss of customers. For most of us, the only thing better than a shiny new digital tool that works right out of the box is well trained support staff on hand to fix a problem no matter what the resolution requires.
In the adult Internet business, we see many examples of high-tech business being transacted through both B2B and B2C. In working with consumers, even as an adult-website operator, being able to quickly and easily communicate with support staff via multiple methods is critical.
While it would be difficult to quantify, it is highly likely that many a recurring porn site subscriber has chosen to remain on board not only because they were satisfied with the content a particular site offered but also because, when they had a problem, they contacted the merchant and felt as though they were treated like gold.
Since adult Internet industry professionals engage in many high-tech B2B transactions online and off, the concept of knowledgeable and reliable support seems like it should be that much more of a priority. In the case of affiliate programs, this is a critical selling point that can help or hinder firms based on whether they make service a priority.
It's no longer enough that you can reach someone via email or ICQ who can update your account info or tell you where to find specific linking codes within the affiliate site interface. If your company makes millions or even hundreds of dollars per year for other companies through affiliate program participation, you want to work with support staff who are analytical and can engage in more than just basic problem solving.
Affiliate program loyalty has been a challenge for a variety of companies in this industry over the years. If you had to cut promotions and select one or a few programs to work with exclusively, your decision would likely be driven not only by monetary output but also by how successfully you and your staff are able to get the "high touch" service to correspond with high-tech revenue opportunities.
Beyond affiliate programs, virtually all other vendors of products and services that cater to the adult Internet need to match the quality of available support options to the quality of the products being sold.
Content providers, hosting companies, ad sales companies and hardware and software vendors alike are capable of setting themselves apart from the competition on the basis of depth, not just availability, of support staff. As a final example to illustrate this point, consider how most consumers choose where to dine out. If you have ever made the decision to return to a cool new pub or restaurant on the basis of service, then the idea of high tech, high touch matters to you too.
Scott Rabinowitz is president of Traffic Dude, a company that oversees some of the highest-traffic volume adult media networks in the world. For more information on the company and its offerings, visit www.trafficdude.com.