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Caring for Customers Electronically

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Posted March 13, 2001 By Robyn Greenspan     Feedback

The poor customer service conditions that exist in brick-and-mortar could spell failure to an e-commerce site. Fortunately, the e-tailing community realized rather quickly that customer relationship management policies needed to be improved.

Once upon a time, a consumer could walk into a store and become cared for at a level that has since almost deteriorated. Salespeople and customer service staff were incredibly attentive and efficient - making recommendations, acting as personal shoppers and maintaining the belief that the customer is always right. But, the last few years have brought a wave of underpaid employees working in understaffed stores, bringing a lackadaisical and less-involved approach to customer service.

The poor customer service conditions that exist in brick-and-mortar could spell failure to an e-commerce site. Fortunately, the e-tailing community realized rather quickly that customer relationship management policies needed to be improved. Being helpful, polite and maintaining customer satisfaction has become critical for e-commerce survival. While it is still important to develop all the facets of building a successful e-business, customer care has emerged as a prominent reason for customer patronage.

E-businesses often compete on a global level and Internet users have lots of shopping options so a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction must be maintained. The focus should be on making each site visitor a loyal and returning customer rather than creating one-time volume or sales. Overall, profitability increases when customers experience good service and support. Since the Internet has created a demand for immediacy, customer follow-up and problem resolution should be expeditious. Resolving customer complaints and concerns should take precedence over closing the deal.

The site should be continually updated to reflect the demographics and personalities of customers. Analysis and tracking will reveal where customers are going, how long they are browsing, what products they are buying and when cart abandonment occurs. Use the reporting information to implement changes to the site as customer need dictates. Personalization tools should also be utilized so product recommendations can be made.

The evolution of caring for customers has reflected the needs of shoppers who are moving quickly through the Web. Continued evaluation and modification of eCRM policies is instrumental to e-business success.

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