As more companies make jump to cyberspace every week and billions of dollars flow across Internet, nobody can deny that ecommerce plays a significant roll in business today.
However, as aisles of your local online shopping site get more crowded, tendency for customer service issues and contact to fall through cracks increases dramatically.
The main problem for any site revolves around fact that email as a means of communication has become unreliable over last couple of years.
Spam (unsolicited commercial email) lies at heart of problem since it clogs email boxes of both company and customer.
In an attempt to stem tide of spam, email gets filtered, lost, or deleted on both sides, often leading to hard feelings as customers think their emails have been ignored when actually they've never been received.
As a result, many companies, large and small, have started using "help desk" software to manage their customer communication.
Gone are days of just emailing for support and getting a simple reply back from a live human being on other end.
Spam makes it impossible for a company of any size to operate with email-only support.
A help desk makes it possible not only to maintain a "chain" of communication, but also avoids messages disappearing into cyberspace.
Help desk solutions run range from free to several thousands of dollars for a custom program.
Two very workable and reasonably priced solutions are Kayako.com and Perldesk.com.
(You can also do a search in Google for "free help desk software" if you don't want to spend any money.)
Both offer choice of installing software on your own server, or paying a monthly fee to get a copy of software installed and maintained on provider's server.
Which option you choose depends on your level of technical ability, level of customization needed, and how much support you'll need over time.