Monday, April 03, 2006

lousy corporate communications...

for many people and corporations doing business online is a revelation. unfortunately, for a large segment of the online business community, they have forgotten to ensure that excellent customer service rules the day.

common mistakes often include poor and ineffective communication within daily online communiques with customers. for example, when emailing a customer who has just purchased your product or service online ensure it is pleasant and THANK THEM for their purchase. you'd be amazed at how often this simple gesture gets overlooked. many times it's a result of outsourcing the payment system to a third party such as paypal who cares less about how they represent your company and more about pushing new accounts.

I was recently purchasing a gift for my wife online,

here's an example of how NOT to communicate with a customer from my recent transaction:

vendor industries ( would like to be paid through PayPal.
Pay vendor industries now with PayPal!"

keep in mind that i'd already paid for my wife's gift and had printed off a confirmation of the transaction. so when i read this, my initial thought was it reads as if i've not paid them at all. and in fact, with the use of the word "now" it almost comes across as if they're demanding payment.

i have to assume they're not that stupid, so most likely what's really going on here is that paypal has sent me an automated email of some sort from the vendor's perspective and they're attempting to promote their payment service.

a poorly executed way to encourage me to set-up an account.

further down in this particular email, paypal goes into the fact that i owed another $2 for shipping that the system didn't bill me for. the system was set up for my canadian information yet the extra shipping costs associated with shipping to canada was not anticipated. another example of poor programming, and inefficient systems.

lousy execution, and you and i both know that this is done a million times a day - hello lost revenue.

i've removed the actual name of the vendor so that they don't get any advertising benefit for doing a poor job of paying attention to their corporate communications. the truth is they're clueless as to why this would be a problem. however, since i've told them i would write about this issue today, they're now aware and will hopefully learn from their mistakes.

terrible online customer service was a large contributing reason for many dotcom failures. lousy support, lousy communication skills, poor response times, large waste of the customer's time through inefficient billing systems all contributed to poor sales outcomes and down went huge operations. in part because they all focused on the really cool technology and forgot that it would be paid for by really cool customers whom they forgot to treat with respect.

focus on the customer experience at all times, the better you understand what the customer goes through and what they deem as important; the better your business will do.

and always keep an eye on how third-party vendors communicate with your customers, they can do serious damage without you knowing it.

this issue is worth millions of dollars in revenues lost or have to decide what side you'd rather be on...

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