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Can We Afford It?
Even if all works out nicely, this technology won't be cheap. The underlying structure depends upon a comprehensive database, and nobody is giving this kind of software away. My hunch is that prices will be out of reach for small one-person businesses, at least until they are able to produce strong profits. For those just getting started, forget it. We're talking of dollars in thousands at least.
So What's One To Do?
You don't have to wait on technology to implement CRM. As suggested earlier, it's a way of doing business that works. Simply be sure customer support and satisfaction is fundamental goal of your company. Sure you want to sell, but not at expense of this core aspect of your business.
Here's a partial list of things you can do right now to demonstrate that for your company, your customer comes first.
> Be sure site content is complete and easy to read.
> Make certain navigation is a dead cinch.
> Keep order forms as simple as possible.
> Throughout your site, encourage feedback in every possible way.
> Respond quickly to email. Be sure you have answered question completely. And as possible, anticipate and respond to other possible concerns as related to question.
> Provide complete contact info at bottom of every page on your site. And yes, you must include a street address and a phone number, preferably an 800 number that is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by someone who knows what they are about.
> Provide a fax number as well; some people love paper.
> Follow up on all queries and sales. Make certain a high level of satisfaction has been generated.
> Be sure your product or service delivers more than expected.
> Offer an unbeatable guarantee. 12 months has merit in that customers will not feel hurried into making a decision. And later they may not feel comfortable making a request.
I'm looking forward to seeing such systems in action. And I hope they are as effective as those designing them claim they will be. To achieve this goal, designs must be customer directed and controlled.
But with or without such tools, there is a lot we can do right now to demonstrate our concern for our customers. Our bottom line reflects how well we are doing in this matter.
Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! mailto:email@example.com Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349