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By Robyn Greenspan     Feedback

Instituting creative methods that make it easy, and worthwhile, for customers to comment on service will help you increase satisfaction, build relationships, and improve the experience at your e-commerce site.

Customer feedback is an important component in growing an e-commerce site but many consumers only write to companies when they have a complaint, skewing comments negatively. Instituting methods that make it easy, and worthwhile, to comment on service will help you increase satisfaction and build customer relationships.

Instead of burying a Web-based comment form or e-mail address among your pages, direct the shopper to the feedback page immediately after they complete a transaction. They will be better equipped to comment after successfully finding and ordering merchandise.

Inspire feedback with contests and giveaways. If customers have opportunities to win something, they may be more inclined to give constructive criticism or praise. Monitor the replies to ensure that the same people aren't commenting just to increase their chances of winning.

Accompany shipped orders with stamped comment cards. Customers will have had a chance to inspect and use the merchandise, allowing for candid replies. You can also follow-up orders with an inquiring e-mail that asks for feedback on the overall shopping experience and any problems that were encountered.

During down time at the call center, ask customer service agents to telephone customers and inquire about their most recent order. Prepare a script with simple questions about site navigation, pricing, product quality, and delivery. You'll be surprised to find that many customers take the time to state their opinions.

Once you have implemented creative methods for soliciting customer feedback, you still have some work ahead of you. Addressing the comments and making the changes that have been dictated by a majority of customers could possibly lead to a total site overhaul.

Reprinted from ECommerce Guide.

This article was originally published on March 13, 2002
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