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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 same day, as far as reasonably possible. This may sound simplistic, but a recent experiment with 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 customer to establish and resolve 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 volume of phone calls, whatever your business or industry.
Regardless of site quality, clear returns and privacy policies, secure servers, etc., people still require human interaction. All of my clients report talking to customers on phone, and walking them through Web site, where their questions are clearly answered. Maybe these psychological barriers will lessen over next few years, but right now, they are very much there.
If you can get 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 impact of poor customer service and fulfillment procedures in many of dot.coms that are currently failing. Jim says that people buy things online in expectation of getting something more valuable than actual money they spend.
Does your Web site do this??
JFA Inc. can be found at http://www.jfainc.com/
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is an internationally recognized e-business strategist. Check out her free tipsheet "Beyond the Search Engines" for 17 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or mailto:pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com