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2020年翻譯資格考試(catti)一級筆譯材料(4)

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Conscious Decoupling

A new book explains how managers struggle with changing customer behavior

Think about the companies like Uber and Airbnb that have burst through into public consciousness in the past ten years. While many of them depend on the internet, their success is not down to any particular technological innovation of their own design. Instead, their secret lies in their business model.考生如果怕自己錯過考試成績查詢的話,可以 免費預約短信提醒,屆時會以短信的方式提醒大家報名和考試時間。

Thales Teixeira of the Harvard Business School argues that the principle that underlies a lot of these models is called decoupling. In his book “Unlocking the Customer Value Chain”, he explains how this concept applies across a wide range of industries.

Buying a product will involve at least four stages. First, customers will evaluate the items available; then they will choose one or two; then they will buy them; finally they will consume them. In the traditional model, the first three took place inside a single retail store. Customers would look at the TVs or dishwashers on offer, pick one they liked with a price they could afford, pay at the till and then take the item home or arrange for the retailer to deliver it.

These steps are all part of what Mr Teixeira calls the “customer value chain”. Disrupters have muscled in on some parts of this chain. One example is the practice of “showrooming”. Shoppers enter an electrical store like Best Buy and examine what’s on offer. But instead of purchasing the item in the store, they buy it online. Amazon has even created an app allowing customers to scan a product’s bar code, or take its picture, and discover its online price. The selection of products has been decoupled from their purchase.

Other examples of the decoupling process cited by Mr Teixeira include Zipcar, where driving a car is separated from purchasing and maintaining it; TiVo, where watching TV is delinked from sitting through ads; and Birchbox, where customers are sent samples of beauty products, eliminating the need to visit a store to try them.

This is not, as the author points out, a particularly new idea. Budget airlines like Ryanair have long since decoupled flying from the services and amenities that usually accompanied it. Passengers have to pay separately for the extras, like seat selection and the carrying of baggage. Other airlines have followed suit.

Customer services have for some time been disrupted by a trend with the ugly name of disintermediation, the cutting out of middlemen. Most holidays are now purchased directly, rather than via travel agents; shares are bought via low-commission services, rather than through advisory stockbrokers. New entrants can gain market share if they can offer customers a lower cost or greater convenience. Decoupling doesn’t subtract middlemen but still results in lower costs to the consumer.

The beauty of the decoupling approach is that the only limit to innovation is imagination, rather than technical brilliance. For example, Mr Teixeira cites Trov, a company which allows customers to buy insurance solely for specific items for specific periods of time. If you want to insure your latest smart phone for a two-week holiday, you can do so; and then insure it again for a weekend trip later in the year. The need for insurance is decoupled from the hassle of buying an annual policy.

Suppose that you like a restaurant’s ambience, but not its food. In theory, you could book a table but order the food from elsewhere, paying separately for the service and the cooking. If 3D printers become ubiquitous, design and manufacture could be decoupled, with consumers paying for the digital blueprint.

Mr Teixeira argues that decoupling is a customer-driven phenomenon-bottom-up rather than top-down. Successful businesses will spot how consumer tastes are shifting, and that may involve looking at other industries as well as their own. For example, they can look at the success of Netflix’s subscription-based model; what works for TV programmes may also work for other goods and services. Already, there are companies that will deliver socks or perfume on a regular basis, decoupling this from a trip to the mall.

The challenge for existing managers is that they must worry about more than whether their overall costs are lower than those of their immediate rivals. If a part of their process is inefficient, or inconvenient for consumers, the decouplers may well grab hold of it.

自覺脫鉤

一本新書分析管理者如何努力應對不斷變化的客戶行為

優步和愛彼迎等公司在過去十年里異軍突起,闖入公眾視野。雖然它們當中有許多都依賴互聯網,但其成功卻并非源自任何自己創造的特定的技術創新。相反,它們的秘訣是商業模式。

哈佛商學院的塔萊斯·特謝拉認為,這許多商業模式的背后是同一個原理——“脫鉤”。在《解鎖客戶價值鏈》一書中,他解釋了這一概念如何適用于眾多行業。

購買一件產品至少涉及四個階段。首先顧客會評估市面上的產品,從中選擇一兩件,然后掏錢購買,最后是使用。在傳統模式中,前三階段發生在同一家零售店內。顧客會查看在售的電視機或洗碗機,選出自己心儀的、價格又合適的產品,到收銀臺付款,然后將商品帶回家或由零售商安排送貨上門。

這些步驟都是特謝拉所說的“客戶價值鏈”的一部分,F在,顛覆者已強勢介入這一鏈條的某些環節。“展廳”現象的出現便是個例子。購物者走進百思買這樣的電器商店,研究出售的貨品。但他們不在店內購買,而是會網購。亞馬遜甚至設計了一個應用,讓客戶掃描產品條形碼或拍個照就能了解產品的網上售價。產品的挑選和購買環節脫鉤了。

特謝拉舉出的其他“脫鉤”例子還有:美國汽車共享公司zipcar讓開車和買車及養車脫鉤,數字錄像機Tivo讓人們在看電視時不必再看插播的廣告,還有提供美容產品在線訂閱服務的Birchbox,顧客會收到其寄送的美容產品小樣,無需去某家商店試用。

正如特謝拉所指出的,這不是什么特別新潮的概念。像瑞安航空這樣的廉價航空公司早已讓飛行和通常與之捆綁在一起的服務與便利設施脫鉤。乘客必須為選座位和行李托運等額外服務另行付費。其他航空公司已紛紛效仿。

客戶服務環節被去中介化(即去除中間商)這一趨勢顛覆已有一段時日。如今人們大多直接購買度假產品,而不是通過旅行社;從低收費的服務商購入股票,而不是通過提供咨詢服務的股票經紀商。新進入的商家如果能為客戶提供更低的成本或更大的便利,就能獲得市場份額。脫鉤并不去除中間商,卻仍為消費者降低了成本。

有了脫鉤這種方式,想象力而非技術水平就成了創新的唯一限制。這就是脫鉤的妙處。特謝拉舉了保險公司Trov的例子,它允許客戶僅在特定時間段為特定項目購買保險。想在度假時為新買的智能手機投保兩周?完全可以。還想等到今年晚些時候某次周末旅行時再為手機投保?也沒問題。保險需求與麻煩的按年投保脫鉤了。

假設你喜歡某家餐廳的環境氛圍,但不中意它的食物。理論上講,你可以預訂餐桌,再從別家餐廳點菜,為餐廳服務和菜品分別付費。假如3D打印機得到普及,設計和制造就可能脫鉤,消費者可以單獨為數字設計圖付費。

特謝拉認為,脫鉤是一種由客戶驅動的現象,自下而上、而非自上而下地進行。成功的企業會察覺消費者的口味如何變化,為此,它們除了要審視自己所在的行業,還可能需要觀察其他行業的發展。例如,它們可借鑒Netflix訂閱模式的成功經驗,因為適用于電視節目的模式也許同樣適用于其他商品和服務。已經有公司定期給顧客遞送襪子或香水,使購買這些商品的行為與逛商場脫鉤。

在位管理者面臨的挑戰是,他們不能單單關心自己的整體成本是否低于直接競爭對手。只要他們的某個經營環節效率低下,或者令消費者感到不便,“脫鉤分子”就可能乘虛而入,奪取市場份額。

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