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eCRM for the Holidays

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Posted December 13, 2000 By Laura Rush     Feedback

Will online customer service continue to be frustrating this holiday season?

Every holiday season, I get aggravated. My frustration begins with trying to untangle those stupid Christmas tree lights. And then there's the issue with bulbs burning out incessantly. Sometimes, I don't know why I bother. It shouldn't be so difficult. My grandmother seems to have the right idea: The whole tree -- lights, ornaments, tinsel and all -- gets a giant plastic bag over it, and shoved into the garage on Jan. 2. Easy, right?

What's equally frustrating this time of year is getting good customer service online. It makes sense -- be good to your customers, and they'll return. But countless e-commerce sites have to make it hard for everyone. Remember last year's online holiday shopping fiasco? Late shipments, out-of-stock items, customer return problems... Well, if your lucky, neither do the 54 million individuals that plan on shopping online this holiday season. According to research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Harris Interactive, 96 percent of last year's online shoppers intend to purchase gifts online again this year, even though more than half experienced problems last year.

To avoid the blunders that tarnished e-commerce's good name, e-tailers should make a concerted effort to ensure that their store is primed and ready for what's expected to be a record-setting season. According to The NPD Group, Inc. online sales are expected to reach $12.5 billion during the 2000 holiday season!

The projected 8 out of every 10 Web users that plan on shopping online will have lots of shopping options, so a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction must be maintained if you want repeat business.

You have several choices for providing customer service and sales support on your site:
  • Provide a FAQ
  • Handle customer service and sales questions via e-mail
  • Provide an 800 number on your site
  • Provide real-time sales and customer service chat

Rumor has it, that last one is key.

Orignally appeared at ECommerce Guide.com

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