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E-service with a virtual smile

How can you get (and keep) your customers online?

By Emma Kae - 29th August 2000 - Back to News

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It is always difficult to attract a shop assistant when you want one. You feel the need to go to the extremes of jumping up and down on the spot, or perhaps cartwheeling across the floor of the store just to drag them away from whatever is more interesting than doing their job.

So how can an e-commerce merchant give you the best in customer service when he can't even see you?

Suggest a few of these to the webmaster that you are having trouble with. Perhaps a little shove down the road of "outstanding consumer support" will do everyone good. The site will be more successful and you will get what you came for, without tearing your hair out.

Every e-commerce enabled site should consider having:
  • a Frequently Asked Questions page to quickly answer the most common queries
  • a search engine or database for use within the site
  • a way of reaching "real" people, by a toll free number or real-time chat with customer service people
  • an e-mail service that is reguarly checked and quickly responded to

  • There are also ways of reducing the amount of service complaints:
  • ensure that the customer knows exactly how much a product is going to cost them. Glossing over the hidden prices will only result in the loss of what could have been a valuable customer.
  • be as accurate as possible of shipping details and keep them updated as needed.
  • when a customer selects something to purchase, inform them immediately of whether or not the product is available right away. This encourages them to look for an alternative within the site. Setting up an automatic e-mail is far easier to work with than a customer who is furious because their order never arrived.

  • A good thing to remember is "the more quickly a consumer gets what they are after the more likely they will become (and remain) a customer". The most successful e-businesses are those who show their customers that they count.

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