The title of this article seems like a cliché, "The Customer is number one"! Who doesn't know this already? Many businesses and business people know this to be true but how many really practice this philosophy? More importantly, how many Internet companies really practice this?
In brick and mortar world, there are numerous examples of service excellent. One of most famous, is customer who claimed he had bought a tire from Nordstrom and insisted on returning it. Nordstrom doesn't sell tires but they accepted return anyway! This is a true story, although a little extreme for most companies.
Let's take a look at Internet businesses vs. traditional brick and mortar businesses. How do they stack up in terms of customer service and putting needs of customer first? Ask yourself these two questions:
How many Internet businesses do you highly recommend to your friends because you received excellent customer service?
How many traditional brick and mortar businesses do your recommend to your friends because you received excellent customer service?
If you are like most of us, list of Internet businesses you recommend is a lot shorter than list of traditional retailers you recommend. Why does this tend to be true? The main reason is, you receive personalization when you shop at a traditional business, which you don't receive from most Internet businesses.
At a traditional business, employees people greet you, they qualify your needs and they promptly close sale. Is this possible to do with an Internet business? Listed below are a few ways to personalize shopping experience at your web site, so you can practice "Making customer number one"!
1. Make sure your phone number, address and office hours are posted in a highly visible spot on your home page.
Many Internet companies do not want to handle inbound phone messages. If you are one of those companies, change your philosophy NOW or get out of business. The phone number is there for your customers. Do not create barriers for your customers to do business with you! Make sure doing business with you is as simple and easy as possible. List your address, even if you don't ship products from your physical address. Customers are more comfortable knowing that you have one!
2. Provide concise and relevant F.A.Q.'s (Frequently Asked Questions).