Drug testing

Is your Online Business Customer-Friendly?

Customer service is increasingly seen as one of the most valuable uses for a commercial World Wide Web site. Your Web site is available on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis. So it is well worth exploring ways in which your customers can virtually "serve themselves," without the need for overtime staff, or lengthy voice mail procedures.

James Feldman is President of JFA, Inc., an online business offering high quality and unique gift items including automatic watch winders, Grundig shortwave pocket radios, and nitroglycerine pill fobs. The JFA Web site has been online since 1997, and has doubled its income every year - it's now a multi-million dollar e-commerce enterprise.

Jim, who's also a professional speaker and expert on customer service, highlighted for me how the online buying experience differs from the bricks-and-mortar model.

Buying online eliminates the physical presence and personality of the salesperson from the process. This makes the Web site copy critical in creating a one-to-one relationship with the customer or prospect.

Which echoes one of my favorite mantras:

Every page of your site should be written from the visitor's point of view, not yours.

A visitor should be able to look at your offerings, and immediately answer the questions:

"Why me?" - that is, is your Web site the right place for me?
"Why should I care?" - does this copy convince me that you can meet my needs?

It's much easier and immediate to jump from Web site to Web site than to move between real-world stores. So the visitor has far more freedom of choice online. Jim says that the challenge for customer service is therefore very clearly to focus on one customer, one purchase at a time. E-customers expect great service, with little or no direct interaction. They will tolerate some mistakes, but not many.

Jim offers five rules for effective online customer service:

1. Be accessible. Show very clearly on your site all the ways that your customer can contact you - including e-mail, phone and fax numbers, and your office hours.

And, if it's practical for your business, be personal - give your visitors a real person to call who has a name, as opposed to sales@mycompany.com

Of course, if you're really upscale, you can include a "Call-me" button on your site.

2. Return every e-mail or phone call in the same day, as far as reasonably possible. This may sound simplistic, but a recent experiment with the top Fortune 100 companies showed that nearly a third failed to respond to e-mail sent through their Web site within one month! Some of these companies still don't provide a usable e-mail address on their sites at all.

3. Acknowledge all orders. Send e-mail confirmations (this can be done very effectively with autoresponders), and if you're shipping actual products, give tracking numbers and expected delivery dates.

4. Provide a clear return policy, honor it and learn from it. This may give you more information about what's working and what's not. Jim's products are sometimes returned with no explanation, so his staff always call the customer to establish and resolve the problem.

5. Expect more phone calls. Jim says: "Customers can't read or write!" If your Web site traffic and response rates grow (which is, of course, what we want), so will the volume of phone calls, whatever your business or industry.

Regardless of the site quality, clear returns and privacy policies, secure servers, etc., people still require human interaction. All of my clients report talking to customers on the phone, and walking them through the Web site, where their questions are clearly answered. Maybe these psychological barriers will lessen, but right now, they are very much there.

If you can get the customer service aspects of your business working well, there'll be a definite bottom line impact. Jim is quite clear that his business has grown substantially through repeat business and referrals from satisfied customers.

And in contrast, we can see the impact of poor customer service and fulfillment procedures in many of the dot.coms that failed. Jim says that people buy things online in the expectation of getting something more valuable than the actual money they spend.

Does your Web site do this??

JFA Inc. can be found at http://www.jfainc.com

? 2002 Philippa Gamse. All rights reserved.

Philippa Gamse, "CyberSpeakerSM", is an internationally recognized e-business strategist. Check out her free tipsheet for 19 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.cyberspeaker.com/tipsheet.html. Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com

limousine chicago service
In The News:

Making Your Contacts Work For You

The best way to explain this concept is to tell... Read More

Listening: The Foundation of Communication

Listening is the #1 communication skill for leadership, selling, customer... Read More

Is Your Food Establishment Clean?

Is your restaurant, bar or hotel clean? I mean really... Read More

Creating the Right ?Viral Reputation?

Unless you are brand new to business, or have been... Read More

How To Use Your Current Customers

Jay instructed a customer of his to offer a rare... Read More

Mastering Challenging Service Situations

During the course of everyday business, many of you encounter... Read More

Debt Elimination Scam

May people these days have a problem with mounting debt.... Read More

Develop Loyal Customers for a Lifetime ? part 1 (1 ? 10)

Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their... Read More

Caring for Your Customers

You probably think I am going to say something like,... Read More

Customer Service Consultants

When all else fails in your company to meet the... Read More

Customer Service A Chickens Way

Anyone who knows me knows my favorite fast food restaurant... Read More

How To Boost Your Bottom Line With Two Little Words

I hate to sound like one of those cheesy get-rich-quick... Read More

Putting The Serve Back Into Customer Service

Good service is easy to spot and hard-to-find. Mediocre service... Read More

The History of CRM -- Moving Beyond the Customer Database

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of those magnificent concepts... Read More

Setting Up a Customer of the Week Program for a Mobile Car Wash

In a mobile detail or mobile car wash business you... Read More

4 Things Your Clients Want From Your Company

Sure, all clients are different. They have different kinds of... Read More

What Every Employee Should Know About How to Win the Loyalty of Customers

Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, in his cassette album entitled, Win... Read More

Sorry, No Customer Service After 4:00 P.M.

A few months ago, I wrote about ingenious styles of... Read More

Should I Have My Company Mystery Shopped?

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone... Read More

The 7 Principles of Business Integrity

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't... Read More

Making Customer Satisfaction Surveys Work

Why bother? Good customer service is the life blood of... Read More

Making The Most Of Newsletters

Newsletters can be wonderful tools for communicating with your customers... Read More

Are You Putting Technology Before Your Customers?

Which is more important the technology or the customer?The one... Read More

Listening to Customers - 5 Tips

In a strange juxtapositioning of articles, this month's UK '... Read More

Moments That Matter

Many years ago, I was a first year apprentice assigned... Read More

high bay lights led light bulbs for sale Pete's produce ..