Customer Service: Your Advantage

Written by Bryan Marye

So, you don't have a multi-million dollar advertising campaign? You don't have a staff of hundreds, venture capital backing or someone from Star Trek as your spokesperson? Then perhaps it's time to look into one ofrepparttar advantages that you do have over these e-commerce giants..... customer service.

You might wonder how a small company can hope to give better customer service than these heavily staffed, heavily funded e-giants. Believe it or not, it may be your lack of size, that just might give yourepparttar 109076 edge.

Think about your average customer service experience in an off-line setting. Where do you usually haverepparttar 109077 kinds of customer service experiences that are so positive, you come away raving to your friends and co-workers? While I can't answer for you, I can tell you thatrepparttar 109078 overwhelming majority of my experiences of this nature have come with small businesses, often very small. Conversely, I can also say that as a rule, my biggest CS (customer service) nightmares have come withrepparttar 109079 biggest companies. Of course, there are always exceptions, but this theory has proven to be surprisingly consistent for me. I would bet that if you compile a quick mental list of your best and worst experiences as a customer, you might find this to be true for you as well.

The problem with large companies is usually a volume issue. Many of these businesses have such a large volume of CS inquiries, that they simply don't haverepparttar 109080 manpower to adequately provide timely and efficient service. Often, it is difficult to even findrepparttar 109081 proper channel for which to take your CS issue. Large e-commerce companies aren't immune to these kinds of issues. In fact, they are often even less prepared to handlerepparttar 109082 flow of questions and comments that come in from their site on a daily basis. Many of these companies experience massive volume of traffic to their sites. A nice problem to have, but a problem that can often leaverepparttar 109083 customer out inrepparttar 109084 cold.

A recent Gartner study surveyed 50 top-rated internet retail sites on their customer service readiness and effectiveness. The results were very telling. Not one of these 50 sites ranked as excellent with regards to customer service readiness. 23% graded out as average, and 73% were rated below average, and 4% rated poor.

Cnet quoted another recent study by Resource Marketing which showed similar results. "Wal-Mart online is a maze, Williams-Sonoma makes customers fill out applications every time they shop, and automatically sends new customers its electronic newsletter, whether they ask for it or not." Caroline Cofer, a spokesperson for Resource Marketing added that many of these large merchants are "making some scary mistakes."

Now, with many of these large e-tailers streamlining operations in order to stay afloat, it is difficult to imagine customer service improving. In fact, customer service issues on-line have become such an issue, that an entire sector has evolved to deal withrepparttar 109085 problems. Companies such as Egain Communications and Kana Communications offer automated, CRM (customer relation management) solutions. Many of these automated services are ASP (application service provider) models that feature multi-channel response e-mail systems. In other words, software that attempts to emulate a real human. On one hand, these companies should be admired for their vision, and will probably be rewarded with booming sales. Onrepparttar 109086 other hand,repparttar 109087 technology has a way to go before it is a replacement for human interaction. Have you ever sent a question to a site's customer service center, and receivedrepparttar 109088 answer torepparttar 109089 wrong question? More than likely, this wasrepparttar 109090 result of automated CRM software that was unable to properly interpret your question and sendrepparttar 109091 correct response.

"How to Earn $19 a Month From Every Subscriber to YOUR newsletter!"

Written by Wayne Ford

I bet you would have never guessed it, but people are bringing in huge profits by charging for subscriptions to their newsletter! Here's how...

Offering a free newsletter or ezine on your web site's topic of interest is one ofrepparttar best ways to generate traffic to your site and a build a reputation as an expert. But why give something away when you can get paid for it? Print publications charge a yearly subscription fee, why can't you dorepparttar 109075 same for your ezine?

You can and it is possible for a paid-subscription ezine to be extremely profitable. But withrepparttar 109076 Internet swamped with free ezines on just about every topic imaginable how do you convince people to pay for yours?

Most ezine publishers are able to make enough money from promoting affiliate programs and selling advertising in their publication that charging subscribers seems silly. They don't want to limit their potential customers.

But done correctly you can make more profit with fewer subscribers with a paid subscription ezine. The key is extremely valuable content. If something is really of value to a person, they will pay for it. To create extremely valuable content you must dorepparttar 109077 following:

- Become a complete expert on your topic and be able to write original and exclusive articles for your ezine.

- Offer your subscribers information they cannot find anywhere else.

- Network with others in your field to get 'inside' information first and berepparttar 109078 first to tell your subscribers about it. Speed can be a very valuable thing.

You may also consider offering payment for hot tips/insider secrets/ideas to share with your subscribers. If you show your subscribers you are investing for a quality publication it helps validaterepparttar 109079 subscription cost.

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